Civic body is constructing 280 shops to boost revenue in city

Coimbatore Corporation is constructing 40 shops, each measuring 320 sq.ft., at Shastri Maidan. It had prepared two estimates for the shops. The total expenditure for the same is a little over Rs. 1 crore.

The civic body has tabled a resolution before the AIADMK-majority Council, which passed the same with very little debate.

The explanation offered for constructing shops in the Maidan was that the Corporation need to augment its revenue. R.S. Puram being a prime commercial area, the shops there would fetch revenue. The civic body was constructing around 280 shops across the city for this purpose.

According to estimates, the Corporation planned to boost its revenue by Rs. 2.80 crore a year from the shops.

Sources within the ruling AIADMK said that the Corporation constructing shops on the playground — where hundreds of children spent hours during weekends and holidays — for commercial gain could not be digested. It had got its priorities wrong — revenue over public welfare.

The Corporation Committee on Education, Parks and Playground that functioned between 2006 and 2011 was also of the same opinion.

It passed a resolution saying that the Corporation should not let out the playground even on rent for circuses or fairs, which for days together deprived students of play area. But now the Corporation had chosen to erect permanent structures and that too well within the playground and this has caused consternation.

Sources in the know of the developments pointed out the previous Council evicting a tennis academy that was functioning illegally within Shastri Maidan to highlight the contrast that this time, though, the civic body itself had become the encroacher.

Who would bell the cat, the sources asked. They pointed out that the Corporation was constructing such shops at school grounds, school campuses in R.S. Puram and also other parts of the city.

A member of the present Committee on Education, Parks and Playgrounds said she was surprised to know that the Corporation was constructing shops on the Maidan. Deputy Commissioner Coimbatore Corporation S. Sivarasu said that the civic body had not taken away what rightfully belonged to the children.

It was only on the southern side that the Corporation had utilised a portion of the land. This would in no way prevent children from utilising the ground to the fullest extent.

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