With complaints relating to the proliferation of encroachments in this holiday destination mounting, an operation to deal with the menace was initiated by the revenue officials on Wednesday.
However, it was opposed by a few encroachers and functionaries of some parties including the ruling AIADMK.
One encroacher identified as Adhu created a flutter near the Central Bus Stand by dousing himself with kerosene and threatening to set himself ablaze. However, he was whisked away in an autorickshaw by his friends.
Earlier when the Tahsildar Manivel and his staff arrived at the spot to identify the encroachments, the encroacher had flashed a ruling party membership card and claimed to be an office bearer of the party in one of the wards. He had shouted that he would seek the intervention of the Chief Minister and threatened that if his petty shop was removed he would set himself ablaze.
However Mr. Manivel had gone about his business and declared that the encroachments would be removed.
Later speaking to The Hindu he said that the encroachers had been given 24 hours to move out.
If they fail to do so by Thursday morning, they will not only lose their shops but also their contents.
He added that the operation eviction of encroachments will start at the Central Bus Stand and move to other parts of the town.
Meanwhile some of the persons who witnessed the incident at the bus stand lamented that the problems created by encroachments had attained menacing proportions.
Several encroachments in many parts of the town including the main Government Botanical Garden road were not only an eyesore but also impeded free movement of pedestrians and vehicles. Makeshift structures were being converted into regular buildings. Officials concerned should not remain silent spectators to the space grabbing activities being indulged in by resourceful persons and others owing allegiance to various political outfits.