Commercial buildings to face eviction heat

As part of the Cooum restoration project, the department had recently demolished houses at Radhakrishnan Nagar in Arumbakkam. “The next step is to clear the commercial buildings near the riverbank soon. It has been delayed because the shop owners filed petitions seeking an alternative place in the city like it was done for families,” said a senior PWD official.
Commercial buildings to face eviction heat
Representative image

CHENNAI: The Public Works Department (PWD) would soon begin a drive to evict commercial buildings built on encroached land on the banks of the Cooum, said official sources, adding that the department was expecting to get direction from the court after which notices would be immediately issued to owners of these buildings.

As part of the Cooum restoration project, the department had recently demolished houses at Radhakrishnan Nagar in Arumbakkam. “The next step is to clear the commercial buildings near the riverbank soon. It has been delayed because the shop owners filed petitions seeking an alternative place in the city like it was done for families,” said a senior PWD official.

Sources said the verdict in the case is expected on June 16. The department is anticipating getting a favourable order from the court, and is planning to issue eviction notices immediately after that, the official said.

In the initial phase, the department would start the eviction drive at Radhakrishnan Nagar, Greams Road, Metha Nagar, and areas near Ampa Skywalk mall. After the illegal encroachments in these areas are removed, the PWD, along with the Greater Chennai Corporation, would construct boundary walls to prevent encroachments in the future.

However, the official admitted that the department does not have the total number of commercial buildings that have come up along the river over the years. “As per reports, there were 25– 60 families. But when the encroached houses were inspected, there were more than 250 families with documents. Similarly, we don’t have the exact numbers of the commercial buildings. Only after inspecting the places will we get the actual number of structures,” said the official.

To set an example, some government buildings that have come up on encroached lands near the water body would be cleared at the earlier, he said.

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