CHENNAI: Taking a much needed relook at eviction and resettlement policy, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board has decided to stop massive housing projects far from the city centre to where thousands of slum-dwellers are relocated, and instead opt for smaller projects within the city.
Unlike Kannagi Nagar (15,656 tenements) and Semmenchery (5,164), where basic facilities are either stretched to the limits or insufficient, the schemes from now on would limit the number of tenements in a spot to 500 to 2,000 units.
“Other than limiting the number of houses, 1,904 affordable housing projects under the ‘Housing for all’ scheme is proposed in eight locations within the city,” said a senior official of the board.
Translocating the families to distant locations has been a concern, as they often struggle to rebuild lives at these underdeveloped areas where their skills in trade and service are often not required.
Speaking at the release of a report, ‘From Deluge to Displacement’, by policy researcher Vanessa Peter on the impact of evictions following the 2015 floods, the official said efforts were being made to identify land within the city in coordination with various government departments.
The report highlighted violation of human rights, including land and property, livelihood and education by the ‘ghettoisation’ of the communities from informal settlements.
“Once a disaster strikes, the government uses the vulnerability of families in informal settlements to evict them,” said Peter, adding that 60 per cent of the resettled families at Perumbakkam and 71 per cent in Ezhil Nagar are Dalits.
The report comes in the backdrop of plans of mass evictions of around 6,000 families in ‘objectionable’ settlements by various State government agencies, which is expected to commence later this month.