A local slum board official says that growing encroachments at Srinivasapuram, a slum board tenement off Loop Road in Marina has become a cause of serious concern.
He says that dozens of kutcha houses have popped up between every housing block, making it difficult for them to clear sewer blocks here.
The sprawling colony houses over 1200 families, living in tightly packed houses. Mostly daily wage earners, auto drivers and domestic helpers reside in the area.
Says Ramalingam, Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE), TNSCB, who is in charge of the area, “When the blocks were constructed, there was at least 6 to 7 ft space between every housing block. But over the years, the encroachments have taken over this space.”
“With no space between blocks, it has become very difficult for us to bring a jet rodding lorry inside this colony to clear sewer blocks.”
He says that frequent sewer blocks occur in the area as many illegal sewage outlets from the encroachments are let into the drains. “Whenever we are informed of a sewage block, we clear it somehow. But in some cases, people themselves hire local men to clear the blocks. And that has led to the death of two men due to asphyxiation recently.”
Besides, the AEE says that housing blocks here are some 45 years old and need reconstruction. “But residents are not co-operating. They are asking us to either provide temporary accommodation or carry out reconstruction for a few blocks at a time. However, we will not be able to do that as tenders and other permissions cannot be obtained that way.”
“Temporary accommodation too will not be possible according to the government norms. As a standard procedure, we will provide Rs 8000 for each family and complete reconstruction within 18 months.”
In addition, he says now the encroachers are also demanding new houses. “We have no idea how to solve this issue. So, a few months ago, we sent a letter to the chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy detailing all the concerns. But we are yet to receive a response for it.”