CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed an organisation to demolish all houses it had constructed for tsunami victims of Uzhavar Nagar, North Poigainallur, Nagapattinam district and remove debris from the construction place at its own cost.
The State Government and the Collector should take possession of the land and arrange for construction of proper and quality houses or allot any other readily available house in the close vicinity of North Poigainallur to each of the 44 families. The exercise should be carried out by the respondents expeditiously, preferably within two months, the court said.
Allowing a public interest litigation petition, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, said a perusal of the averments in the affidavit and the counter affidavit and the District Collector’s report disclosed that the houses were all substandard in quality and hence unfit for habitation.
In his petition, A. Subbian of Uzhavar Nagar, North Poigainallur, said the people of his village were severely affected by tsunami.
The president, Salvation Agency, India South Eastern Territory, Mela Kotta Vasal, Nagapattinam, came forward to construct 44 houses at North Poigainallur which was permitted by the second respondent.
The houses constructed were inferior in quality and would collapse any time.
The villagers made a representation to the Collector and the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell. But no action had been taken against the organisation (third respondent).
He sought a direction to the Tamil Nadu Government and the Collector to take action against the third respondent based upon the representation for the substandard construction of the houses, and to appoint a committee for monitoring the construction works done by the third respondent.
In its counter, the organisation submitted that while 15 houses were constructed by engaging local villagers of which 13 had been occupied by the beneficiaries, the construction of the rest of the 29 houses, which were entrusted to contractors were stated to be not up to the standard and that the organisation was willing to rectify whatever defects were noticed by authorities.
The Bench said when the writ petition was entertained, the Collector was directed to inspect the houses along with PWD engineer and submit a report to the court.
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