Chennai

Thideer Nagar residents relocated despite resistance

Razed down: Houses in Thideer Nagar being demolished as part of the Cooum River Eco-restoration Project on Tuesday.

Razed down: Houses in Thideer Nagar being demolished as part of the Cooum River Eco-restoration Project on Tuesday.  

Families demand allotment of bigger apartments in Perumbakkam

Despite opposition and protests, the residents of Thideer Nagar, Greams Road, were relocated to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) tenements in Perumbakkam on Tuesday. Residents complained that despite seeking more time, officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation had insisted that they move immediately.

The authorities had come to the area last month to evict the families as part of the Cooum River Eco-restoration Project.

“All we asked for was some time to finish our work and for the completion of our children’s exams. But they never paid any heed and instead are carting us away,” said Radhika, a student.

The families had even staged a ‘road roko’ on Greams Road on Monday demanding more time, but the police had intervened and they were forced to disperse. Last month too, the families had urged the authorities to postpone their eviction, demanding more time. They alleged that they were informed on the relocation only a day before.

 

“The same thing happened this time too. The officials visited us on Saturday and asked us to pack and be ready to leave on Tuesday,” she said.

Officials from the Corporation however maintained that they had informed the residents on the relocation during their meeting last month and had even asked them to be prepared to leave in a few weeks time, mainly for their safety during the rain.

Power supply cut off

On Tuesday morning around 7 a.m. the entire area was lined up by Corporation officials and local policemen. The electricity supply was cut off and residents were asked to pack their belongings and leave. A few officials even helped them pack and loaded their bags on trucks. Even as the families moved out, their houses were razed to the ground by excavators.

“The saddest part was to watch our house being demolished right before our eyes. I thought they would at least wait for a few days,” said Murugan, a driver.

Meanwhile, residents surrounded the officials and insisted that they be allotted bigger apartments in the new block of Perumbakkam which measured over 350 sq.ft. They said if the demand was not met, they would set up shanties right outside the tenements. After a long debate, the officials agreed and 603 families from the area were allotted bigger houses in the new block.

“The electricity and water works in the flats are under way. We will also give them the shifting allowance of ₹5,000 once the biometric survey is complete and admit children appearing for board exams at the Semmenchery school immediately,” said a senior official from TNSCB.

Future bleak

However for the families, their future in their new homes seemed bleak. “We were willing to relocate, but only needed time. I don’t know how I am going to manage with my job, as my office is far away from here. I definitely can’t leave it. But we’ll find a way,” said S. Shivakumar, who works as a sales executive in a private firm in Nungambakkam.

As many as 246 slum dwellers in Rangoon Street, near Greams Road were also relocated and allotted houses at the Perumbakkam tenements last week.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 4:46:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/thideer-nagar-residents-relocated-despite-resistance/article20629639.ece

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