The Harsh Life in Kallukuttai

An unorganized existence wedged among several multi-storied cognizant buildings outlines the existence of Kallukuttai, one of the biggest slums in Chennai, where people’s cry for help goes unheard by the government.

With more than 17000 households, Kallukuttai, that was once a marshland has now turned into a prime land, eyed by politicians of the leading political campaigners in Tamil Nadu, opportunists for seeking public attention as well as the media.

It is sardonic that despite the plight of the people getting highlighted, the government is unable to fathom the reality of livelihood sustenance in the kallukuttai slum. Followed by multitudinous false assurances and reassurances, the corporation seems to have turned a cold shoulder towards the deprived.

“It is very difficult to live in a home where there are three daughters in their teenage and no toilet. I have been trying to convince my husband to build one but he just does not listen and prefers drinking with the money he earns rather than providing for us,” said a gloomy Suja.

The proverbial saying of ‘survival of the fittest’ has been aptly followed by the slum dwellers living in the heart of the city. The Perangudi district secretary of the All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), Prema referred to drinking water and road conditions as the major problems faced by the slum inhabitants in the contemporary scenario.

The slum that is located on the IKallukuttai Lake faces a crisis of drinking water where they get water through the tank supply by paying an amount three rupees per 25 liters of water.

The marshland chock-full with garbage has become a dumping land for human excreta due to the lack of properly constructed toilets in the slum houses that indicts the lack of consciousness among the municipality, corporation and the government at large.

River full of garbage

The slum needs to progress not only in terms of the amenities provision but also in the context of empowering the women so that they are able to identify themselves as a distinct individual.

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