Chennai: Cracks in the construction and obnoxious gases emanating from the adjoining sewage pumping station have made life miserable for the 1,000-odd residents of the ‘posh’ multi-storeyed apartment blocks built by Tamil Nadu Housing Board at Korattur in northwest Chennai. Appeals and complaints made to the Board have fallen on deaf ears, they alleged.
“There are cracks in the middle of the building, mostly at the joints. We are living in perpetual fear that the building might collapse, just as the Moulivakkam twin-tower disaster (over 60 dead in that July 2014 tragedy). The Housing Board is pressuring us to take charge of the apartments we have booked and paid the initial money, but I have not moved into that place out of fear”, said S Kumaran, who is among the buyers of the apartments in this property that the Board has named ‘Castle 222’ indicating the total number of apartments in the three blocks on the 25th Road of Korattur.
While two blocks have nine floors each of 90 apartments, the third has a total of 42 apartments in seven floors. The two-bedroom apartments are each priced at Rs.30-40 lakh depending on the plinth area.
“We are all middle-class people who have invested our hard-earned savings and borrowed money to pay the initial payments for apartments in this complex.
Scared persons like me, living in rented premises, have double liability now since we must pay the rent for the place we live in, in addition to the installment money to the Housing Board”. In fact, most allottees have paid up the entire cost over a period of time since 'Castle 222' got 'ready' and was handed over in January this year.
Apart from the scary cracks on the walls and flooring, the residents also suffer from the foul-smelling gas emanating from the adjoining sewage treatment plant, plus the swarms of mosquitoes.
“I cover my nose with a cloth most of the time because foul-smelling poisonous gases emanate when the sewage water is being pumped next door. Many residents here have been affected with respiratory issues such as asthma”, said Sivapriya, a resident and mother of a young boy.
She sounded bitter and distressed while recalling that multiple complaints to the Housing Board, the Chief Minister's Cell, MLA office, Pollution Board and the Chennai Collector from the owners' association yielded no response. “Housing Board officials did a namesake patching up of cracks, but new cracks have developed”, Sivapriya said.
Association secretary C Udayakumar said the members have demanded structural audit by a third party to certify on the safety and stability of Castle-222. But then, the Housing Board's silence is worrying them, he said....