Misuse of footpaths by traders in various parts of city

Repeated complaints from public representatives and a recent order from the District Collector notwithstanding, the district administration’s action against encroachments particularly in the Manacaud, Ambalathara areas, and the Thiruvallam-Kazhakuttam stretch of the NH Bypass is likely to be put on hold in view of other ‘priority tasks.’

The complaints from the public representatives, raised during successive district development review committee (DDRC) meetings, were on encroachments on the roadside, including of newly laid foothpaths, on the Thiruvallam-Kamaleswaram stretch and also against encroachments that had been reported several times on both sides of the NH Bypass from Chakka to Thiruvallam.

According to Rufus Daniel, district panchayat vice-president, Manacaud, Ambalathara, Kamaleswaram roadsides were taken over by traders, with some not wasting even a day to take over recently laid footpaths from Thiruvallam to Kamaleswaram. At some spots, they even extended their shops onto the footpath. This, he said, was causing inconvenience to the public, who were forced to walk along the busy roads.

A norm now

As for the service roads and both sides of the NH Bypass, the encroachments had now become the norm, with workshops, spare part dealers, parking lots, vendors of all kinds and hotels using the road to suit their needs. This was leading to accidents and traffic jams on the road thus defeating the very purpose for which land was painstakingly acquired and service roads laid, Mr. Daniel said.

“The situation near the Ananthapuri Hospital, where haphazard parking of cars and poor maintenance of the road, has led to real pathetic condition of the road towards the international terminal of the airport. Even the Airport Authority of India will have to take a share of the blame for the encroachment here. Encroachment is so widespread and blatant and we have the National Highway Authority of India and the Public Works department remaining mute spectators,” Mr. Daniel said.

The issue was raised in several DDRC meetings, he said, adding that the Collector had issued instructions in a recent meeting to take action on these encroachments, particularly in Manacaud and Ambalathara and the Thiruvallam-Kazhakuttam stretch.

Immediate priority

However, sources said implementation of the order might take some time since the administration’s priority as of now was an action plan to tackle the impending summer, apart from handling the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. A full-fledged anti-encroachment drive might have to wait till the summer, and the polls were over, they said.