Staff quarters of BSNL now no man’s land
Lack of upkeep of the 50-acre housing colony in Vyasar Nagar, Perambur, with 300 apartments for BSNL employees and 100 homes for postal staff has made it a den of anti-social elements
CHENNAI: At a time when real estate prices are skyrocketing and crimes such as land-grabs are making headlines, city-based BSNL’s neglect of its housing colony in over 50 acres is a crime in itself.
Situated in city’s prime locality in north Chennai, the property is an eyesore with uncleared garbage and overgrown trees, and of course, a perfect spot for anti-social activities to thrive.
“Do the authorities really have the dedication to revive and strengthen BSNL by at least safeguarding its wealth and properties?” aver BSNL insiders.
“Over 50 acres of land with BSNL staff quarters is now a den for anti-social elements. If the land is rented out for commercial activities, it’d be a major source of revenue for the cash-starved telecom giant fighting private telecom players,” points out civic activist V Sathiabalan, who is also a former telecom advisory member.
In Vyasar Nagar at Perambur, the housing colony was constructed on 50 acres of land has 300 houses for BSNL staff, and 100 houses for postal staff.
“For 5-6 years, the place has been abandoned. All the houses are vacant and most of the buildings are in the dilapidated condition and may collapse any time,” laments Sathiabalan, who suggests ways in which the land can be put to better use.
“The land could be rented out as a playground or a venue to host private events, as a way to generate revenue for the BSNL exchequer. But, officials don’t care about any of it,” he opines. “The whole property, including the quarters, is worth several crores, but there are no monetary gains for the BSNL. The Railways and Integral Coach Factory have rented out their places for commercial, private and sports events. Why can’t BSNL do the same?”
Sathiabalan also alleged that miscreants had looted the wooden furniture, doors, and windows from the quarters due to lack of security. “There’s a dark eerie silence that permeates the whole space, which attracts all kinds of miscreants who indulge is nefarious activities. Booze parties and other anti-social activities are common here,” explains G Sudarshan, a resident of Perambur.
All the employees who had once occupied the quarters have now retired. The homes are empty, said a senior official from BSNL.
“We have a plan to lease out the property and administrative process is already underway. We cannot reveal anything more at this moment, but BSNL is very much concerned about the upkeep of the large prime property in north Chennai,” the official said.
When DT Next asked him about the upgradation of the place with value-added elements such as a playground with turf, meeting hall, etc, to generate more funds, he clarified: “We don’t have enough funds to upgrade or renovate the place but in the near future, it would be leased out.”
The official dismissed claims regarding lack of security, and said, “The place is guarded by security personnel. We’ll take action if there are any such cases.”