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In death as in life, hardships dog families in TNSCB tenements
The residents in Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) tenements at Navalur, Gudapakkam and other sites demanded an exclusive burial ground because villagers in the surrounding neighbourhoods don’t allow the tenement residents to use the facility in the locality.
Families, who have been relocated to these tenements outside the city, are ostracised not only during their lifetime but the discrimination dogs them during death too. In the report submitted by Advocate Commissioner K Elango, who was appointed by the Madras High Court to examine to rehabilitation and resettlement of evicted families, showed the rampant discrimination meted out to these families.
Except in Perumbakkam, there is no burial ground in any of the other resettlement sites. “The people in Perumbakkam sites said that there is a small burial ground located close to their tenements and requested that it has to be shifted to a distant place. The reason for exclusive burial ground is that on many occasions, the villagers in the nearby areas, don’t allow their burial ground to be used by the families from the TNSCB tenements,” stated the advocate commissioner in his report.
“The Perumbakkam burial ground is on a marshland and cannot be dug deep. Plus, there are more and more families being resettled here and the ground is insufficient in capacity. In fact, many families use the burial grounds in their previous locality, because it is convenient,” said Vanessa Peter, a researcher at Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC), which has been working with the resettled families. The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took suo moto cognisance of the issue from media reports and directed the government to resolve it, following which TNSCB has identified a vacant plot in Perumbakkam for the burial ground.
In the report, the advocate commissioner pointed out several critical gaps in the resettlement units – from terrible quality of housing structure to severe lack of employment opportunities, forcing people to commute for four hours daily to reach their workplaces in their former locality. The advocate commissioner also pointed out that according to the Board, most residents in these sites belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Most Backward Caste (MBC), with a huge youth population. “Only when the Board and other governmental agencies show concern and attend their grievances on “fast-track” mode, they would get engaged in their job and studies and contribute to the nation as otherwise, it will be one more Vysarpadi and Pulianthope, which are known as dangerous ghettoes,” stated the report.
Report finds critical gaps in rehabilitation and resettlement plan for families evicted from the banks of Chennai rivers
- The relocated sites are 25km-50km from workplaces
- It is far from main bus stops and railway stations
- Inadequate school and hospital facilities
- No full-fledged anganwadi
- No safety for the residents with many cases of mugging and thefts on the road
- No adequate lights on streets, staircases and in corridors
- Poor construction leads to leakage in water and drainage pipes