The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a PIL from CPI-M seeking to restrain the authorities from converting slum clearance board apartments into COVID-19 isolation wards.
A Special Bench of Justice MM Sundresh and Justice PT Asha also directed the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board not to cancel the allotment orders issued to 1,500 families in the city.
According to central Chennai secretary of the party G Selva, the flats which are 45 years old are under redevelopment as they had become completely unsafe to occupy in 2018.
While those who had the money had rented houses in the nearby areas, around 200 families are staying in makeshift houses near the apartment complex without power, water and sewerage connections.
The redevelopment has been completed and the beneficiaries were waiting for allotment as per orders already issued by the board. "But we were told that the government is considering converting the entire apartment complex into COVID-19 isolation wards," advocate R Thirumoorthy said.
The flats were already allotted to the beneficiaries who are without a proper place to live in. The advocate argued that the action of the authorities is unacceptable. Moreover, the place in KP Park chosen by the authorities is not fit for establishing COVID-19 special ward in the light of the guidelines issued by the National Centre for Disease Control, he added.
Tamil Nadu on Thursday reported 776 new cases of COVID-19 and the total number of infections in the state rose to 13,967. The total fatalities in Tamil Nadu now stand at 94 with 7 deaths reported on Thursday. Of the 776, 567 cases are from Chennai alone, while 34 cases are from Chengalpattu district. Seven passengers — six from Chicago and one from Muscat — had tested negative first but later tested positive.
79 persons who had come to Tamil Nadu from other states including Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and West Bengal too tested positive for the virus.
Chennai now has 8,795 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The second on the list is Chengalpattu district with 655 cases. 61 passengers housed in airport quarantine and five passengers in railway quarantine have also tested positive till Thursday.