Action plan to evict 55,000 families encroaching Chennai rivers

Adyar and Cooum rivers targeted; officials lament families selling off allotted land

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government is preparing an action plan to evict 55,000 families that have encroached the banks of rivers in Chennai.

The action plan is being formulated as the State is preparing to respond to a writ petition before the Madras High Court seeking removal of encroachments on Canal Bank Road of Kasturba Nagar and Indira Nagar, Adyar. The next hearing is on March 13, 2017.

The State has arrived at the figure based on a survey conducted under the Rajiv Awas Yojana Project. Similarly, biometrics survey was also taken up in this regard by the Public Works Department.
Official sources said that plans are on to rehabilitate 21,000 families living on the banks of Adyar and Cooum rivers by June when tenements are available for the families.

“More than 7,000 families from Adyar river banks and 14,000 families encroaching the banks of Cooum will be rehabilitated in the tenements readily available for occupation from June 2017 under the first phase,” sources said.

In second phase, it is learnt that government is working on a detailed plan about  number of families, land requirement, project cost, project period, construction and rehabilitation schedule which will be submitted to the High Court.

It is learnt that the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board has till now resettled 4,300 families evicted from the banks of Adyar at Saidapet till March 2016. However, thereafter,  no resettlement was carried out. Similarly, 400 families were evicted from Arumbakkam catchment area.

Sources said that most of the encroachers are unwilling to shift to Okkiam Thorapakkam or Perumbakkam as it would affect their livelihood.

Officials feel that a major issue faced during resettlement of families is that once the tenements are allotted, the families sell them and return to encroach the river fronts. Plans are on to ensure that rehabilitated families are linked with Aadhaar card and biometrics to avoid further encroachments. 

Sources indicated that for safeguarding the river, plans are being evolved to convert the vacated area as cycle pathway or roads as has been done for Vaigai river in Madurai.

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