Slum tenement with 24 houses collapses in north Chennai

No loss of lives reported till now as residents had rushed out

A Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board tenement with 24 houses collapsed in Tiruvottiyur on December 27 morning. As the residents had rushed out after the building developed cracks, a major tragedy was averted. No one has been found injured till now, police said.

According to police, the slum board tenements are in Arivakkulam area in Thiruvottiyur. Residents said the ‘D’ block of the tenements had developed cracks and on December 27 morning, it collapsed totally around 10:30 am.

Prem Kumar, a resident who lost two of his flats in the tenements, said that he noticed cracks in the building two days ago. "The door had jammed and we could not open it. We informed the (TNSCB) officials who did not take any action. Only on December 27 morning, the officials came to inspect the building. Suddenly, they asked all the residents to rush out. Soon, the entire block collapsed," he said.

None of the residents had time to take anything from the home. Prem Kumar and his family had to leave behind jewellery, cash, documents and certificates to rush out to save their lives. He said they have been living in the tenement for 20 years.

Meanwhile, officials said that the entire ‘D’ block with 24 houses collapsed totally. In the adjacent ‘C’ block, four houses were damaged. Fire and Rescue Service Department and Police personnel are removing the debris now.

City Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal and senior officers were the first to rush to the site to oversee the operations. Slum Clearance Board Minister T.M. Anbarasan visited the crash site and promised a solatium of ₹1 lakh to each family by this evening, to provide alternate housing soon and build new houses to the affected at the same site.

He said the building was constructed in 1991 and had been damaged over the years. In Chennai over 23,000 TNSCB tenements would be rebuilt over the next five years in phases. In the first phase, over 7,000 houses would be built.

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