‘It will legitimise the encroachments and allow more such structures’

Environmentalists have taken objection to the Coimbatore Corporation’s move to construct a wall in Valangkulam to prevent inundation of houses of those who live along Vincent Road.

According to K. Mohan Raj, secretary, Save Coimbatore Wetlands, the civic body constructing the wall in the tank will pave the way for more encroachments.

Already considerable tank space has been eaten away by people who have encroached upon the area to construct houses.

The retaining wall will only legitimise their construction and allow more such structures.

The increased occupation will result in more sewage flowing into the tank. As if on cue, the Corporation is constructing the wall with pipelines to convey the sewage into the tank.

He says that though there is nothing wrong in the civic body constructing the wall, it should have removed the encroachments first and then constructed the wall.

If done so, it would have prevented encroachments.

The civic body is constructing the wall for 250 feet at Rs. 42 lakh to prevent the Valangkulam waters from flowing into the houses there. The rationale the Corporation provided for constructing the wall is that the residents were the first to get affected whenever it rained in the area or whenever the water level in the tank rose.

Sources in the Coimbatore Corporation say that it is factually incorrect to say that the civic body is constructing the compound in the tank and that it has allowed encroachments.

Survey records

The survey records clearly establish that abutting Vincent Road on the east is private land, where the people have built houses. At the eastern end of the land is a Corporation road and only thereafter the tank boundary starts.

Plus, the civic body can construct the retaining wall only in the tank to prevent inundation. In short, there is nothing wrong in the place chosen for the wall, the sources add.

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