• Tamil Nadu government is yet to finalise its resettlement and rehabilitation (RnR) policy even after 14 months have passed since its draft version was released to invite feedback from stakeholders.
  • The policy draft, released in October 2021 by the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB), focused on laying down a framework “to facilitate a smooth, fair and humane resettlement process.”
  • The draft was released following an announcement earlier that year during the Budget session in the Assembly.
  • Though concerns were raised about certain aspects of the draft, activists and civil society organisations largely welcomed the move.
  • While only two weeks were initially provided for interested stakeholders to offer comments, it was extended by a brief period following a plea from activists, who also demanded a moratorium on evictions until the policy was finalised.
  • However, the policy is yet to be finalised even though evictions have continued in many places. More evictions are on the anvil, especially with the Madras High Court taking a stringent view regarding the removal of encroachments along the Buckingham Canal.
  • The delay is despite Chief Minister M.K. Stalin reiterating in the Assembly in May that the policy would be formulated. He made this announcement following the evictions in Govindasamy Nagar in Chennai.
  • Urging the government to finalise the policy at the earliest, Vanessa Peter, founder, Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities, however, stressed that necessary changes suggested by the civil society should be incorporated.
  • A senior official from the Housing and Urban Development Department said the revised policy, after incorporating the feedback from various stakeholders, had been circulated with other relevant departments for their feedback. The official added that high-level meetings had also been held.
  • Stating that the policy is likely to be finalised in the near future, the official, however, claimed that many key measures envisaged in the draft have already been put to use during evictions.
  • For instance, the official said a standard operating procedure was now diligently followed during evictions.


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