The Public Works Department (PWD) along with Chennai River Restoration Trust (CRRT) demolished more than 200 residential and commercial structures on the banks of Cooum on Wednesday. The officials also faced protest from residents as they claimed they were given notice only the previous day.
“We removed encroachments from 43 different slum locations on the riverbank. The families were relocated to Perumbakkam which was sanctioned under Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board,” said Jayanth, a social worker with CRRT.
“The action was taken mainly to demolish the private parking space at VR Mall, which is an illegal space at the Cooum bank. It was supposed to be removed a few weeks ago, but they filed a case which delayed the work. Even on the day of demolition, they were asking two weeks’ time,” added Jayanth.
PWD officials said that notice was given to the residents a month ago informing them that the encroachments would be removed on December 4. But, a few residents claimed that they received the notice only on Tuesday evening.
“The work was delayed because the residents wanted to be relocated to the centre of the city, and they got a stay order from the court. Now, however, the river will be desilted and extended soon,” said S Kavitha, assistant engineer, PWD.