Few social media posts claim that 1.50 lakhs rupee is to be paid for allotting houses in Pulianthope Slum Board Apartment in KP Park by the people whose houses near Cooum river, Radhakrishnan Nagar, Chennai have been evicted.
Valarmathi, from the Student welfare uprising movement, has posted a video along with few images on her Facebook page discussing the situation in KP Park during the visit with her team to the A to E block of the apartment. She also has included that residents were asked to pay 1.50 lakh rupees for the houses.
When we spoke to Valarmathi over the phone, said, “In the 1980s during MGR’s rule, a four-storey housing unit was built for the residents. That land belongs to Kesavapillai who donated it to Dalits. In 2016 during the ADMK regime, the houses were evicted with police protection committing that the government will be building new houses for the residents. Few out of 864 families received a replacement of tents made up of tin in the same area. Residents were given Rs.8000 each during the eviction. After five years in February 2021, while providing a token to receive the newly built houses, residents were informed that they will have to pay Rs.1.50 lakhs for each house.
Slum Clearance Board should not charge people and is also not in practice. But the government has provided order on this. The residents there are Dalits and cleaning workers. They said that they can’t afford to pay 1.50 lakhs while they shifted to the new house in March. But the government has disconnected water and lift facilities for them. The street light was set up recently. The 9-storey apartment with no lift and water facilities has put the residents under stress. All political parties including the MLA knew the situation and are pretending it. We have written a letter with the residents signature”.
When we spoke to the Corporation Works Engineer who was in the field during the eviction of houses in Radhakrishnan Nagar, said, “Residents need not pay the amount to take houses in Slum clearance board apartment. The government is taking care of it. And they have a lift and water facilities in the apartment”.
The slum clearance board commenced the eviction and resettling in 2008. 672 families were provided with a new house. The remaining 864 houses were evicted in 2016 for which the residents were demanded Rs.1.5 lakhs. Since those 864 houses were brought under PM’s ‘house for everyone’ scheme residents were asked to pay. The scheme expects 1.5 lakh from the central government, 7 lakh from the state government and 1.5 lakh from the residents. But, this was not informed to the residents. Moreover, the previous government has released an order for the residents to pay 1.5Lakh rupees.
Minister of rural industrial and slum clearance board, Anbarasan visited the apartment in 2016 and has said, “It is a basic law for the residents to contribute their share if the house is built under PM’s scheme of ‘house for all’. If residents denied paying it, then the central government will not pay their part which would, in turn, stop other projects. But the residents also cannot afford to pay Rs.1.5 lakh now, and hence they will be arranged for loans where it can be paid through instalments. I have discussed the loans with the bank official. Most of the crowd has accepted it. Residents will be resettled in the newly built houses before the month of Aadi”. This was said by the Minister to ‘Ananda Vikatan’.
When we spoke to Kumar who is waiting for a house in KP Park, “We were informed to pay 1.5 lakh rupees in February while receiving the token. Tents were made with the cheque worth 8000 received from the government. We are still living in tents. We would have shifted to the newly built house if water and lift facilities are provided. We have been informed that loans will be arranged for 1.5 lakh rupees. But we were asked by the slum clearance board officials to pay the amount that we have in hand say, 10000 to 30000 as an initial payment wherein the rest will be handled by the bank. But how will people like me who is an auto driver pay money in this pandemic situation where we hardly earn?”, he said.
The corporation works Engineer has said to us that no money needs to be paid by the residents near Cooum river who are waiting to get shifted to Pulianthope slum clearance board apartment in KP Park. The 864 house residents are asked to pay 1.5 lakh since the houses were built under PM’s house construction scheme. Minister Anbarasan has said that loans will be arranged since the residents cannot afford to pay. However, complaints have been raised that they are asked to settle the initial payment, no proper water facility and lift is also kept disconnected. It is a request from everybody to the government to take care of people’s needs. Proper action is expected to sort the issue.