LEFT IN A LIMBO, WITH­OUT A ROOF

Mis­match in enu­mer­a­tion leaves over 50 fam­i­lies in Navalar Ne­dunchezhian Na­gar on the streets

The New Indian Express - - CHENNAI EXPRESS - ● Nirupama Viswanathan

"Any enu­mer­a­tion taken be­fore six months of evic­tion be­comes out­dated be­cause ten­ants may come and go. The ear­lier enu­mer­a­tion may have had political in­ter­fer­ences.

— Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cial

0ver 50 fam­i­lies are left wait­ing in rain and sun at Navalar Ne­dunchezhian Na­gar as of­fi­cials check the ve­rac­ity of their claims of be­ing en­ti­tled to a house at their own pace. While around 500 fam­i­lies have been evicted un­der the Cooum River Restora­tion Project since Novem­ber 28, al­lot­ments have been given to 421 fam­i­lies — an un­der­es­ti­ma­tion, claim res­i­dents.

When Ex­press vis­ited the site on Thurs­day, sev­eral fam­i­lies were seen eat­ing and sleep­ing out in the open, among the de­bris of other houses that were razed down last week.

A do­mes­tic worker and wage-labourer with her hus­band, Na­galak­shmi Ravichan­dran said, “We have not been given an al­lot­ment but our house has al­ready been brought down. My hus­band was re­cently oper­ated upon for heart de­fects.”

For oth­ers, their houses have been left un­touched al­though elec­tric­ity ser­vices have been dis­con­nected, forc­ing them to sleep in the open. “There are all kind of pests run­ning around af­ter the other houses in the area were brought down,” said Gay­athri B, in her sev­enth month of preg­nancy.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, an enu­mer­a­tion car­ried out in 2015 had put the el­i­gi­ble fam­i­lies to re­ceive al­lot­ments at 700. A more re­cent enu­mer­a­tion has put the num­ber of fam­i­lies at 421. “Any enu­mer­a­tion taken be­fore six months of evic­tion be­comes out­dated be­cause ten­ants may come and go. The ear­lier enu­mer­a­tion may have had political in­ter­fer­ences,” the of­fi­cial said. In re­sponse to a writ filed on be­half of the res­i­dents, the High Court of Madras had sought a list of the 700 fam­i­lies from the pe­ti­tion­ers to be passed on to the of­fi­cials for fur­ther ac­tion. Of­fi­cials from the PWD said that the ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the list is un­der­way.

“Out of the 700 fam­i­lies listed, many do not have struc­tures against which we can give al­lot­ments. They show 2x2 feet struc­tures and claim that they are houses,” said a PWD of­fi­cial.

● P Jawa­har

With their houses hav­ing been razed down last week, these fam­i­lies sleep and eat on the roads

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