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Tamil Nadu News Papers

Slum dwellers to get homes within city

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The Hindu        11.09.2017 

Slum dwellers to get homes within city

Time for change:Residents relocated to areas such as Gudapakkam have struggled to earn a livelihood.File Photo  

Locality near Seven Wells identified for building tenements; 40 more such locations are in the process of being acquired

In a major policy shift that could help safeguard the livelihood of the slum dwellers to some extent, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) has decided to construct tenements in Moolakothalam near Seven Wells.

The Board has also identified around 40 localities in and around the city for resettlement and relocation of slum dwellers and homeless families.

Unlike the previous resettlement colonies, which were over 50 km away from the city centre, some of the new localities could be much closer and within one hour of travel time.

The move comes in the aftermath of the government’s decision to stop building tenements en masse in the outskirts of the city so as to avoid ghettoisation.

All these tenements will be constructed as part of Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP) as part of the Housing for All (Urban) Scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

Under this scheme, financial assistance will be provided for houses for economically weaker sections that are being built in partnerships by States /UTs/cities. “We have received approval for three locations so far from the Centre. Construction work will soon begin. While we have identified several other areas, they are under the jurisdiction of various departments with whom talks are underway,” said a senior official from TNSCB. Apart from Moolakothalam, slum dwellers are expected to be relocated to Manali New Town and Thailavaram in Maraimalai Nagar.

Enumeration process

In the phase one of the project, the Board will construct 648 tenements on 11.5 acres in Moolakothalam. In the next phase, 400 tenements are expected to be built. “The enumeration for the tenements is currently in process. Families in and around the area will soon be provided houses,” the official said.

Around 1.48 lakh families across the city have been identified and enumerated under AHP. The Board had received approval to build over 5,000 multi-storeyed tenements.

The Board’s decision to refrain from en masse construction of tenements in the outskirts may help ensure mixed development of relocated and host communities.

However, those who have already been relocated to tenements further away claim their lives have been adversely affected after the move.

“If you look at these building walls, it seems like they might come crumbling down any time,” said Vasanthi, fitting her hand in a large hole in the entrance wall at her house in Gudapakkam.

“Our lives completely changed after coming here. My husband is unemployed, I have to be very careful about my teenage son, who I fear is getting into bad company. I do not allow my daughter to step out alone. But this is the case with most families here. There is nothing for us or our children here. The State has successfully isolated us,” Ms. Vasanthi said.

Land titles

A recently released report titled ‘From deluge to displacement: The impact of post-flood eviction and resettlement in Chennai’ by the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC) and Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), pointed out that 85% of informal settlements did not have legal land titles and the residents are living below the poverty line.

The report also noted that the lack of security of land tenure has resulted in the state branding most slum dwellers as “illegal occupants” and “squatters”.

It further stated that the deliberate denial of provision of security of tenure has been the root cause of forced evictions, wherein the people are coerced by the State government to move to ghettos under the guise of ‘post-disaster rehabilitation’ and ‘affordable housing.’

“It is important to ensure that the new sites have all the means of social and economic development and basic amenities. Else, these areas too would become ghettos,” said Anbuselvam, a Dalit scholar.


City all set to get more smart benches

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The Hindu        17.08.2017 

City all set to get more smart benches

The civic body plans to install smart tree benches at 30 more places in the city.M.PERIASAMYM_PERIASAMY   | Photo Credit: M. PERIASAMY

The estimated cost of each of the benches is around Rs. 4 lakh

After installing a solar panel topped structure as smart street bench at its main office, the Coimbatore Corporation has decided to go in for 30 more such benches.

With a solar panel as roof, people can sit at the smart bench and enjoy Wi-Fi connectivity. It has power points to charge phones or tablet computing devices. The Corporation has said that the benches to be installed could have a few sensors as well.

Sources familiar with the development said that the Corporation would install the benches in the wards that come under the area based development component of the smart cities project. The estimated cost of each of the benches was around Rs. 4 lakh.

The Corporation could go in for a public-private partnership model of development - meaning, the companies installing the smart benches could provide advertisement space or choose other advertisement mechanisms to recover the installation cost.

The Corporation was also giving the companies/contractors the freedom to modify the design of the benches. They need not be a replication of the one in the Corporation main office.

The Corporation had meanwhile called online for request for proposal for 10 such benches. The Corporation had said that the idea of a smart bench was to create a unique design that provided solar energy to power cell phones, Wi-Fi, LED lighting, and sensor data gathering gadgets.

The objective was to make streets and public properties smarter and greener with the proposed smart bench.

Sources in the Corporation, however, said that the civic body must first explain the purpose of and the benefit for the public from the smart bench in the main office. It should provide details like how many people had utilised the facility, charged their phone and was there a written feedback. They added that the Corporation should not rush into establishing more benches.


Corporation to grant new water connections

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The Hindu         17.08.2017  

Corporation to grant new water connections

New water connections

The civic body may start giving new water connections in the next few days. The civic body had frozen new connections from December 2016 to January 2017 following a dip in water level in the Siruvani reservoir.

Sources said that following an increase in water level in the reservoir and comfortable water position, the Corporation had decided to grant new water connections. Currently, the civic body had 2,000 - 2,500 applications pending for new water connections.


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