Unauthorised commercial establishments in T. Nagar, which were for a long time protected by ordinances and temporary court orders that prevented punitive action, were locked and sealed on Monday.

The Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) took action against 25 commercial establishments on Ranganathan Street and Usman Road in T. Nagar. The move follows a directive of the Madras High Court to the CMDA, the Corporation, Metrowater and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to file affidavits reporting compliance of an earlier order on taking action against unauthorised constructions.

The commercial establishments had failed to respond satisfactorily to the notices issued by the CMDA and the Corporation.

The Corporation locked and sealed as many as 19 buildings.

Babu Shoe Mart, Meenakshi Real Estate, Textiles India, Arihant Saravana Sweets, Jayachandran Textiles, Shoba and Shanmuga Stores on Ranganathan Street, in addition to buildings of J. Sundaralingam, S. Srinivasan, Rajarathinam and two others, Chithirapandian and Azhagu, were sealed.

On Usman Road, the Corporation sealed buildings of N.S.Ramanathan Jewellery, Omar Khayyam restaurant, Gandhi Hotchips, Sreedevi Gold House, Archana Sweets, Kesar Value office, in addition to buildings owned by Mohammed Siddique and Seenivasalu Chetty.

The CMDA locked and sealed six buildings – Rathna Stores; The Chennai Silks; Sri Kumaran Gold House, all on Usman Road; Jayachandran Textiles; Rathna Stores and SAT Complex, all on Ranganathan Street.

“These buildings have been sealed as the owners of these buildings failed to produce valid approved plan, in response to the locking and sealing notices issued, and failed to discontinue the use of these buildings as stipulated in the notices within the stipulated time,” said CMDA Member Secretary R. Venkatesan.

Store owner P. S. Rathnam Nadar, seated at the entrance, said: “Our store is 45 years old. There are about 240 stores here. You get everything here, right from a pin to a gold chain. We will not let this happen.”

Within minutes, owners of other stores assembled there in support of the octogenarian, who is also the president of the Ranganathan Street Merchants Association.

Staff members of Jayachandran Textiles on Ranganathan Street prevented officials from sealing the shop.

When Mr. Rathnam Nadar said he would not let them seal his store, police personnel got ready for a possible arrest and brought their vans into the lane. CMDA officials finally managed to seal the store.