Around 40 families living in a section of Lock Nagar along the Buckingham Canal, near Chepauk, have resisted the government’s move to conduct a biometric survey in a bid to relocate them as part of the canal restoration project.
In a petition submitted to the office of Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni MLA and Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin, the residents have pleaded for clarity on the resettlement process before the government proceeded with the biometric survey.
Pointing out that many families had been living there for more than five decades, the people, predominantly women, said they were connected to the locality for their livelihood and their children studied in schools and colleges nearby. They refused to submit their details to the government employees, who tried to commence the survey last week.
Stating that they were willing to cooperate with the government on the survey, the people pleaded for clarity and consideration of their demands. They demanded an alternative accommodation within the 5-km radius from the present locality so that their livelihoods were not affected. They appealed to the government to consider allocation of houses in new buildings of the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board coming up in Mandaveli, Egmore or Foreshore Estate.
They recollected that it was an assurance made by the DMK during the 2021 elections that they would not be relocated without providing alternative accommodation in nearby areas.
Vanessa Peter, founder, Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities, said the government should make public the Detailed Project Report and the social impact assessment done for Buckingham Canal restoration project so that an informed discussion can happen before the government proceeds with the relocation process.