The State Highways removed 25 footwear shops from Bharathiar Road near the Gandhipuram Town Bus Stand on Saturday in order to enable the widening of the road ahead of the World Classical Tamil Conference to be held here from June 23 to 27 this year.

The eviction was done in co-ordination with the Coimbatore Corporation that had a special demolition squad to remove unauthorised constructions across the city and encroachments on roads.

Supervised by Assistant Divisional Engineer of State Highways Ramesh Khanna and Assistant Town Planning Officers of the Corporation S. Ravichandran and T. Bhuvaneshwari, workers set about the task of removing the shops that were involved in the making of and repairs to footwear.

There was resistance initially to the eviction by the shop owners, but they later began dismantling the shops as the authorities were firm on removing these, Mr. Ravichandran said.

When a demand for alternative site was made, the authorities said the shop owners could shift to the Corporation's site near the electric crematorium at Pappanaickenpalayam.

The shop owners said that the site was not conducive for good business. It would not fetch the income their location so far at Gandhipuram had, they explained.

The shop owners then demanded space on Dr. Nanjappa Road.

“But, we told them that we had no authority to commit on that because the road belonged to the Department of National Highways,” Mr. Ravichandran said.

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