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Slum woes in Chennai: Forced to hunt for a shelter amid Covid and rains

With the High Court refusing to stay the eviction order, families residing in the slum clearance board tenements in Mandaveli are scattering to find a rental space.

Published: 27th November 2020 03:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2020 12:20 PM   |  A+A-

A corporation worker clearing the garbage for the free flow of flood Satyamurthy Nagar Thiruvatriyur following Nivar' on Wednesday in Chennai. (Photo | P Jawahar, EPS)

A corporation worker clearing the garbage for the free flow of flood Satyamurthy Nagar Thiruvatriyur following Nivar' on Wednesday in Chennai. (Photo | P Jawahar, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: With the High Court refusing to stay the eviction order, families residing in the slum clearance board tenements in Mandaveli are scattering to find a rental space.

“We had sought time till March when the school year gets over, and the court also asked the State to consider extending time till January.But as soon as the order came, around 10 officials came to our building and asked us to vacate immediately,” says Agalya, a resident.

“It is clear that they won’t give us time. In the middle of the rains and Covid-19, we have started to look for houses too,” says the 58-year-old cook. Both her grandsons, aged 9 and 12, have been out of school because she hasn’t been able to pay their fees.

All we want is...

Several other residents too are in debt after the lockdown put them out of their jobs. A rental house in the same locality would cost them a minimum of Rs 6,000 a month, for a family of four. The deposit amount could be anywhere between Rs 40,000 and a lakh, say residents.

The residents will be given a one-time shifting allowance of Rs 8,000. However, they say that may not suffice.

“We are ready to manage the monetary aspect even if the State does not help us. All we wanted was some time until the end of the school year,” says another resident, who did not want to be named.

“The authorities never sat us down for a discussion about what they are going to do after demolition and how they are going to rebuild this,” the resident adds.

The houses are set to be rebuilt under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana where the current structure, that has 344 houses, will be demolished and rebuilt to accommodate 500 houses.

The residents may be accommodated in the new structure. But, they will have to contribute Rs 1.5 lakh in installments.
 



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