TIRUCHY: Residents of Sundar Raj Nagar and Highways Colony near Subramaniyapuram in the district are living under a cloud of uncertainty. They complain that the 33.74-acre parcel of land allocated for government staff in the early 1970s by the then collector and over which 310 houses were subsequently built is classified as poramboke land in revenue records. While they assert that orders were issued to have the land parcel reclassified as ‘natham’, the residents blame revenue authorities’ “negligence” for it continuing to be regarded as poramboke land. Stringent norms following recent court directions have also limited us from selling off the property without a patta, they rue.
According to the residents, the houses were built following then district collector TD Sundar Raj ordering the reclassification of the poramboke waterbody in Kottapattu as ‘natham’ around 1971-72 and allotting 155 plots each to the staff of Tamil Nadu Government Servant Co-operative Building Society and Tiruchirappalli Highways Co-operative Housing Society Limited. The two societies built some of the houses for the employees while others built it on their own and have since been residing in the land, now named Sundar Raj Nagar and Highways Colony.
While the norms then enabled some of the residents to sell off their houses without patta using what revenue sources quoted as town survey numbers, other residents complain that recent directions by the Madras High Court have barred them from doing so. With authorities now prohibited from registering any document relating to land notified as waterbody in revenue records, incumbent District Collector M Pradeep Kumar barred the plots of the societies from registration, complain residents.
Following alleged inaction on their earlier petitions over the issue, both societies again on Thursday submitted a fresh request with the Collectorate seeking patta for their houses.
A 62-year-old retired government employee residing in Highways Colony said, "Till May 2023, there was no problem selling houses. After the court order, the sale of our plots through survey numbers has been banned with claims that it is classified as a waterbody. The former collector allotted the land by reclassifying it as ‘natham’. We have proof. The authorities, however, have shown negligence by not recording it so in revenue records. We do not know whom to hold responsible."
N Gnanavel, a retired government employee in Sundar Raj Nagar, said, "I thought I could register the house in my son's name but alas."
When contacted, Collector M Pradeep Kumar told The New Indian Express, "I have decided to conduct an inquiry on the matter on September 20. Only then will I talk about it."