CHENNAI: The State government has launched an initiative to provide decent housing to poor people living in objectionable poromboke lands like watercourses in rural areas and to restore these lands to their original purpose. An order for this scheme was issued on November 27 by the Revenue department.
Under this scheme, to be implemented for six months from now, those who live in objectionable poromboke lands for over five years will be given house site pattas for around three cents in alternative location, provided they fulfil the government’s eligibility criteria.
In case, unobjectionable government poromboke lands are not available in any village, the government will acquire private lands through Revenue department in the respective villages and will issue free house site pattas to rehabilitate the displaced poor families. The annual income of beneficiary families under this scheme should be one lakh and in case the annual income exceeds the ceiling, the cost of the land would be collected from them as per the existing rules to issue house site pattas.
These families will also be covered under the regular housing programmes of the Rural Development Department, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural) and Chief Minister’s Solar powered Green House scheme. Talking to Express, Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar said “Right now, the scheme is being implemented only for rural areas. It was announced in the budget and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had a detailed discussion on this issue on July 11. Based on the decisions taken at that meeting, the scheme has been designed. In unavoidable cases where those who live in objectionable poromboke lands cannot be relocated, constructing multi-storey buildings in the same location to accommodate them will be considered,” the minister clarified.
Asked whether this scheme would be extended beyond six months, the minister said “The government has data on the extent of government lands that have been encroached. Once we resolve these encroachments through this scheme, there will not be any need for this scheme anymore.”
On when this scheme would be implemented in urban areas, the minister said “The survey about how much poromboke lands have been encroached in urban areas is being done. After completing that, if needed, a decision would be taken by the Chief Minister in this regard.”
Regarding the difference between a one-time settlement scheme for regularising encroachments in government poromboke lands implemented during the DMK regime from 2007 for some years, the minister said, “Under that scheme, all lands, including the encroachments in water courses were regularised. First, the number of years of encroachments was set as 10 years, later it was brought down to seven and again to three years. Further, the scheme was extended for every six months for many times. The court also questioned as to how it could called as one-time settlement scheme.”
But after the AIADMK came to power, encroachments in water courses were excluded for this regularisation and later the scheme was stopped. Now, following requisition from various quarter to implement such a scheme, the Chief Minister has ordered this scheme, the minister said.