CHENNAI: Social activist Medha Patkar, on Monday, visited the residents of Govindasamy Nagar in RA Puram, who were forcefully evicted from their homes near the Buckingham canal. She said that bulldozers are being used as a weapon to oppress ordinary people.
She questioned how they could be ‘legal’ voters if they were ‘illegal’ residents and also demanded action against the businessman who filed the public interest litigation seeking to evict them. She consoled the family of Kannaiyan (58), who died by self-immolation protesting against the eviction, and urged the officials to allow them to stay in their homes.
“The residents have been paying various taxes to the government for more than 50 years. Despite them living in the locality legally, the attempt to evict them is shocking. Chief Minister MK Stalin should intervene and take appropriate action on the matter,” she said.
She added that no rules were followed while evicting them. She questioned the use of implementing developmental projects in the city if ordinary people were evacuated from there. “Those who were already allotted houses in the Perumbakkam were not happy with the living conditions when we visited two years ago. If people from RA Puram are also shifted to Perumbakkam, their livelihood will be affected,” she said.
The water resources department, with help from revenue, police and Corporation officials, started the eviction process on February 28 at Govindasamy Nagar based on a contempt petition filed by a businessman in the Supreme Court. The eviction was stopped after Kannaiyan, a resident, died by suicide and Chief Minister MK Stalin promised to allot houses in nearby localities for the residents.