Chennai eviction drive: CM MK Stalin assures new policy after protester sets himself ablaze
CM MK Stalin said that all Govindasamy Nagar residents will be allotted houses at resettlement sites being built in Mandaveli and Mylapore.
Published: 10th May 2022 07:14 AM | Last Updated: 10th May 2022 10:13 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: Following the death of 58-year-old VG Kannaiyan, who on Sunday immolated himself to protest eviction of residents at Govindasamy Nagar in Raja Annamalaipuram by Water Resources Department (WRD) officials, Chief Minister MK Stalin told the Assembly on Monday that all Govindasamy Nagar residents will be allotted houses at resettlement sites being built in Mandaveli and Mylapore by the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB).
The CM said that a new resettlement policy that covers all aspects of people's welfare will be drafted soon and people will henceforth be moved out only after all basic facilities are ensured at resettlement sites. "Consultation will be held with people before resettlement to prevent such incidents. We will ensure conflict-free operation by talking to elected representatives of the locality," the Chief Minister said.
Announcing Rs 10 lakh solatium to Kannaiyan's family, the CM said he was speaking with a heavy heart and hoped that this would be the last of such tragedies. Meanwhile, Kannaiyan's family has refused to accept his body after he died around 3 am at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital on Monday. He had suffered 90% burn injuries.
The family wanted the government to file an abetment to suicide case against officials, particularly those from the Water Resources Department, involved in the eviction drive, solatium of Rs 50 lakh, and government job for one member of the family.
According to a senior official of the TNUHDB, the land owning department, WRD, decided to evict the residents due to a contempt of court case.
"As we had to allot houses to residents in a time-bound manner, we gave them resettlement sites where houses were vacant. We also assured residents that they would be allotted houses together in the same block when construction of houses is completed in other areas," the official said.
Continuing their stir on Monday, Govindasamy Nagar residents wore black dresses and held placards with slogan 'our land is our right'. They urged authorities to stop the eviction and give them pattas for their houses. Leaders from various political parties, including the CPI, the CPM, the DMDK and the NTK, took part in the agitation.
Speaking at the protest site, CPM leaders said if authorities continued their eviction drive, the party would hold agitation demanding removal of residents of flats being built by a businessman whose PIL seeking eviction of the Govindasamy Nagar residents prompted the action.
They said it was unfair that the eviction took place after successive governments encouraged residents to build houses. "Someone had to self-immolate for the government to hear us. We have been pleading with officials saying that we are not encroachers and we need time to move out," said Vedhagiri, a resident.
The residents said their houses were located at a distance of 40 feet from the Buckingham Canal and the locality was declared a slum in 1971.
Several civil society activists had written to the CM saying the slum was classified as 'unobjectionable' in 2005 and that carrying out eviction in the middle of an academic year violated the children’s rights. The Supreme Court is expected to hold a hearing in the case filed by the residents on Tuesday.