Chennai: 60 families, left homeless after anti-encroachment drive, boycott polls in protest

In last October, district authorities launched a demolition drive in Kallikuppam abutting the Korattur lake, razing down over 600 houses that they called encroachments.

Published: 19th April 2019 03:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th April 2019 03:52 AM   |  A+A-

Voting, Vote, Polls, Ballot

Image used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

CHENNAI : A total of 60 families, comprising 300 voters, have refrained from exercising their franchise protesting what they called an ‘illegal’ demolition of their houses in a Chennai suburb recently forming part of the Sriperumbudur Lok Sabha constituency.  Living in makeshift sheds made of metal roofing sheets amidst debris in Muthamizh Nagar in Kallikuppam near Ambattur, these families are fighting injustice meted out to them by the authorities. 

In last October, district authorities launched a demolition drive in Kallikuppam abutting the Korattur lake, razing down over 600 houses that they called encroachments. Of the total number, 130 houses had been built in Muthamizh Nagar. However, the residents claimed that they were not encroachers and in fact, they had patta documents. The locality had Metro Water supply, electricity and LED street lighting and everyone had voter ID, Aadhar and ration cards and other government proofs with the Muthamizh Nagar as address. 

When Express visited the locality on Thursday afternoon, all residents were holding a meeting under a tree where they unanimously decided to boycott the polls. Selvakumar, an auto driver, said there was no point in participating in the election when they were rendered homeless for no reason. 


Another resident S Neelavathi alleged the entire eviction drive was done with vested interest. “Our houses were razed down without issuing notice and taking bio-metrics on early morning of October 12, 2018. We were only orally informed and had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging the proposed demolition. But before relief came in, our houses were demolished by revenue and PWD officials. Now who is going to compensate us?”

A resident Kalyani along with 60 other families had filed the writ and the Special Government Pleader admitted before the High Court that no notice was issued in accordance with law.  “Petitioners’ peaceful possession and enjoyment of said properties shall not be disturbed,” the High Court said in its order, while disposing of a batch of cases. 

PWD authorities claimed the families were offered accommodation in Perumbakkam and Semmencherry, but they refused to accept. Senthil Kumar, a resident, said, “My daughter studies in 12th standard here. How can I go and stay in Semmencherry?”

India Matters


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