Eradication of this Slum Remains on Paper
The Uppidamoodu slum area in Sreekanteswaram ward has just 10-20 houses. But around 200 people have been residing here at a time for the last 40 years. But the slum eradication programme still remains on paper, on the premise that the area belonging to the Railways was encroached. The City Corporation also turns a blind eye to the issue of rehabilitating the lot.
Pathetic is the state of affairs in the slum, with only two taps for water supply which sometimes doesn’t work at all. No wonder, the filthy environs trigger skin diseases and epidemics now and then. The thatched huts, of 300-400 square feet area each, accommodate much more people than they can hold, sometimes up to 10 persons.
The slum area has been selected for implementing the Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana (RAY) in the state. The scheme, meant for providing housing and other facilities for the urban lot, is till now a non-starter here. “We had complained many times. But all the complaints fell on deaf ears. The situation is much worse now. The foul smell emanates even in our houses. The slum does not have a proper drainage facility. In the heavy rains, waste water seeps into the entire area, eventually leading to flooding. When help is sought from the state government, we are told to approach the concerned Union ministry. They always blame each other,” said Kamala L, a resident here.
Local Corporation councillor Rajendran Nair said that the RAY team had completed the preparatory phase of their work. It conducted surveys and monitoring and had prepared a list. “The place belongs to the Railways. We are searching for a new place and trying to build flats to accommodate them,” he said.
“We are planning to conduct health camps after the first phase. We will analyse the scene and will prepare a report, so that we would know how much funds can be allocated for them. The second phase will be implemented with community participation,” said a RAY technical cell official.
“We are not receiving any benefit from the government. Some of us doesn’t even have a ration card. As there are many cards in a single house number (28/182 TC), officials concerned are refusing to sanction more cards. Officials and politicians come here only to ask for votes. None of them show any mercy towards these poor people,” said Sanal Kumar, an auto driver living in the area.