‘TNSCB failed to protect land granted by govt’
The Madras High Court slammed Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) officials for failing to keep a tab over the lands allotted by the government for clearing slums and instead forcing the poor living on such lands to pay guideline value to buy the plots.
Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana was passing orders on a batch of petitions relating to allotment of housing plots in Tirumullaivoyal village, where the petitioners (slum dwellers) were denied housing plots despite having proof of living in the area for the past three decades because they were not in the eligible list created after enumeration. It was also pointed out that a 2016 resolution held that whoever claims to live in vacant plots should, after verification, pay the guideline value to own it.
However, the judge pointed out that TNSCB should have the responsibility over the lands allotted by the government, and said any unauthorised occupation or trespass should be nipped in the bud. “On the contrary, the officials have been allowing the persons to squat over the land and ending up in frivolous litigation,” she said.
Noting that the sequence of events made it amply clear that TNSCB has introduced the new clause of demanding the guideline value only to deny the rights of the persons as that of the petitioners, the judge ruled in their favour, holding that they were eligible for allotment on a notional value fixed by the TNSCB as has been done in the case of others.
“At this juncture, it is to be stated that the persons who have been living for around 30 years have been displaced or forced to pay the guideline value, though the government contemplates a place of its own there. The procedure adopted by the Board officials and the delay on their part result only in a slip between the cup and the lip for the petitioners,” she added.