The district administration cracked the whip on illegal vendors who had encroached on the road and footpath in Fort Kochi, as a result of which tourists had been finding it difficult to have a clear view of the beach.
About 100 illegal vendors who had encroached on this hot tourism destination were evicted by a team of the revenue department led by District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed and Fort Kochi Revenue Divisional Officer Bhandari Swagat Ranveerchand.
The eviction drive started as early as 6 a.m. and lasted till about 3 p.m. under a tight security cover provided by a heavy posse of police force led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mattancherry, M. Benoy.
Though the drive met with some resistance initially, it soon subsided with the arrest of a person who led it.
Four-wheel push-carts, makeshift shops made of plastic shacks, and roadside kiosks on the stretch between jhankar jetty to the beach front were cleared.
The drive cleared the encroachments from in front of jhanker jetty, corporation zonal office,
Vasco da Gama Square, St. Francis Church, police station, and the beach, the most sought after point in Fort Kochi.
About a 50-metre stretch on either side of St. Francis Church have had been taken over by makeshift shops for clothes and handicrafts. All those shops were cleared in the drive. However, fish selling points on the footpath near Vasco da Gama Square weren’t removed, as the areas, reportedly, belonged to the port.
Eviction of the encroachers had been a longstanding demand with an activist of the Carnival Paithruka Samrakshana Samithi eventually approaching the court with the demand sometime ago. When the court took up the case on January 3, the government pleader asked for another 10 days following which the case was rescheduled for 24th of this month.
The marathon eviction drive is seen as an effort to avert court reprimand when the case is taken up again.