66 slums along Buckingham Canal to be demolished

The Chennai Greater Corporation will start enumeration of encroachments in 66 slums along the Buckingham Canal this week. All the slums will be demolished to make way for a cleaner and wider canal.

The Public Works Department had compiled a list of 26,300 encroachments in the 66 slums along the Buckingham Canal based on a survey carried out a few years ago. But the number of encroachers have reportedly increased since then and corporation officials will identify the exact number of encroachments after completion of the enumeration.

For example, the number of encroachments in the slums in the neighbourhood of Neelam Basha Durgah in Triplicane have increased in the past few years. After officials relocated the residents to Velachery three decades ago, many have returned to the area. “More than 300 additional encroachments along the canal have increased pollution in the canal. Crime is increasing in the area. We are ready to move to a better area if we get alternative accommodation. Our women want safety and security,” a resident of Neelam Basha Durgah said.

The Corporation and other line agencies will remove solid waste and prevent the mixing of sewage from stormwater drains before the onset of the monsoon this year. Encroachments along the Buckingham Canal from Chepauk to Sholinganallur have been increasing in the past few years, leading to flooding in other parts of the city.

A series of meeting for prevention of pollution of the Buckingham Canal, Cooum and Adyar rivers has been held this week with the Chennai Corporation, Metrowater, Water Resources Department and the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board. The Corporation has already demolished 40 out of 55 slums along the Cooum River, resettling 7,925 families living along its course. But the resettled residents have complained about safety and security in the new tenements of the TNSCB in areas such as Perumbakkam.

More than 6,000 families in 15 slums along the Cooum River have resisted the move to demolish their houses. So, they are yet to be resettled. Many of the residents along the Buckingham Canal are expected to offer stiffer resistance during the demolition drive. Crime in these slums has been reportedly high in the past few years.

About 16 slums along the Adyar river have been demolished. Over 12 slums continue to resist the demolition drive. Just 4,418 out of 9,549 families have been evicted along the Adyar so far.

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