CHENNAI: Over 362 families were evicted from their houses on Sir Muthusamy Road near Chennai Fort railway station.
The slum on Sir Muthusamy Road which wore a festive look a few months ago, as leaders of almost all the political parties bee-lined to gather votes for the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, appeared deserted as almost 80 per cent of the houses were razed following a government order.
“We have been living here for more than 60 years. My father lived here and this is where I was born,” said 54-year-old Yettiappan, who is a fruit vendor. The officials say we had encroached the road and are evicting us to widen the road. They have allotted us houses at Kannaki Nagar in Thoraipakkam which is 20 kilometres away. Most of us are street vendors; we sell fruits and flowers around the Central railway Station and it will be very hard for us to travel from Kannagi Nagar to Central everyday, he added.
Also, not all these families have been given alternative housing arrangements. “Seventy-two out of the 362 families were not allotted houses as we don’t have a ration card. We have Voter’s identity card and Aadhar card but still they demand ration card to allot houses. Without houses we are forced to stay in the open with our children and wife,” said V Kuppusami who is one among the 72 who were not allotted houses.
Making the situation worse, the housing board officials demand 2,500 rupees for fixing electric meters. We were not allowed to enter the houses allotted to us until we pay them said K Muthu, who lost both her parents last year. She added that the government should at least give them a month’s time to pay the charges.
However, the Corporation officials claimed that the houses were built on the encroached land along the road and the residents were given proper notice and time to evict from the encroachment. The officials added that they were forced to take the help of the police as residents failed to evict within the notice period.