The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) has sought funds to the tune of Rs 640 crore from the Chennai River Restoration Trust (CRRT) to construct 18,000 tenements to resettle slum families living on the Cooum riverbanks.
A TNSCB source told City Express that the funds were sought following the Chennai Corporation’s enumeration of the settlements along the Cooum banks.
Interestingly, this comes in the wake of a public consultation held on environmental restoration of the Cooum river and the river front development.
The rough estimated cost of the river front development, which will have cycle tracks and parks, is around Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 3,500 crore. However, the public consultation, which was conducted by CRRT, Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL) and the Spanish technical consultant of the project LKS at the Public Works Department conference hall, was opposed by people and civil rights activists, who argued that beautification of the river should not be done by relocating human settlements from the banks to far off places. TNSCB sources said that the 18,000 tenements would be in addition to the 20,000 tenements being constructed at Perumbakkam.
The sources added that they had also sought land to construct the houses. “On one acre, we can construct 120 tenements. We have sought land as well as funds,” said the source. He said once the project proposal was cleared by the CRRT, there would be adequate funds to resettle families and clear the river of encroachments.
According to State government estimates, about 13.96 lakh families (59 lakh persons) are living in the urban slums in Tamil Nadu.
Similarly, a report of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation estimates the slum population in Tamil Nadu at 86.44 lakh in 2011.