CHENNAI: Members of Unorganised Workers’ Federation will hold a demonstration in the city on January 21 urging the state government to provide homes for slum dwellers within the city after losing their livelihood because of the floods.
Among the key demands of the Federation is a plea to allot houses to slum dwellers within three kilometres of their former residence.
“Making hundreds of slum-dwellers who were evacuated from the river banks during the floods and asking them to shift to the outskirts of the city is unfair, as they lack basic amenities including schools, poor connectivity and absence of jobs,” said R Geetha, advisor to the Federation.
The Federation along with Pennurimailyakkam, Coastal Community People Movement (CCPM) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) organised a public hearing at Teynampet in December when around 300 slum dwellers from 19 areas in the city alleged that their huts and all their belongings were washed away and were left with nothing.
M G Devasahayam, a retired IAS officer, S M Arasu, retired chief engineer, Public Works Department, Prof Sawaswathi, state president, PUCL, Sri Saravana Raja, educationist, Sri Arungunam Vinayagam, Nagar Sena were the panelists.
Responding to this, SM Arasu, said that slum dwellers staying along Chennai’s waterways need not be displaced to far off areas but they can be relocated to permanent dwellings in the same area that does not obstruct the flow of water.
Prof Saraswathi, condemning the eviction of slum dwellers stated that the forced relocation of communities to far off sites resulting in the deprivation of their livelihood and denial of access to health and educational opportunities is a violation of basic human rights.
Further educationist Sri Saravana Raja, pointed out that the rise in school drop out arising from the slum evictions is a violation of RTE.