Resettled 25 kms away from home, these daily wage workers fear loss of livelihood

These families who lived very close to the Vanagaram fish market are worried how their childrens' education will pan out as relocation means shifting to new schools.

Published: 12th November 2019 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th November 2019 06:36 AM   |  A+A-

60 out of the total 150 families were evicted from Chinthadripet on Monday (Photo | Debadatta Mallick)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Most men among the 150 families who are being resettled from Amma Nagar in Chintadripet to the tenements in Perumbakkam are loadmen at the Vanagaram fish market. Their day would usually begin at 3 am but starting tomorrow, they would be forced to start their day at 1:30 am.

"Our work begins at 3 am and goes on until 10-11 am everyday. We have to leave at around 1:30 am every night from tomorrow to cover the 30-kilometre distance between Perumbakkam and Vanagaram," said Vinoth M, a resident of Amma Nagar.

These families are set to be relocated 25 kilometres away to Perumbakkam, as part of the Cooum river restoration project. Of these, 60 families were resettled on Monday. This is being done by Chennai River Restoration Trust as a part of the river beautification project. At the Vanagaram fish market, the loadmen are paid Rs 20 for every box of fish they carry.

These families have been living along the Cooum river for more than 30 years now.

"Our income depends on our physical strength and age; we carry as many boxes as possible within the seven hour period," said Selvaraj, a resident at Amma Nagar for 35 years.

Here, these men walk barely a few yards onto Poonamallee High Road at 3 am, wait for a share auto that takes them to the Vanagaram market for Rs 20 each. They return home by share auto too, that drops them off a few yards away from their homes. "We are yet to figure out what mode of transport we should take from there," said Nagalingam P, another resident.

Express had reported earlier of the plight of those who own horses for joyrides in beaches from Pallavan Nagar, evicted previously. After owning horses for generations, they now have no use of their horses
and have them tied up at Perumbakkam, spending Rs 1000 a day to feed them.

Students from Amma Nagar said they plan on continuing their education in the Chintadripet schools. "Even if we want to join a school near Perumbakkam, we can't do it before the next academic year since it would be too much of a hassle," said Sharmila K, a student.

Officials at the eviction site who did not want to be identified said, "We have made all arrangements possible to make the relocation easy for them. For school students, spot admission is given in the
Perumbakkam school without having to produce the Transfer certificates."

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