Tension prevailed for a while near Aminjikarai on Poonamallee High Road on Wednesday morning, after a few building owners objected to a move by the revenue department and the highways department to pull down their structures.

“The Chennai district collector had, on August 6, passed orders to demolish four structures. Accordingly, revenue department officials had notified the police, the Chennai Corporation and the electricity department on Monday. When earth-movers arrived at the spot to assist the revenue department, we met with stiff opposition,” said a source at the highways department.

The building owners, the source said, claimed they had obtained orders from the Madras High Court to stay the demolition and attempted to stop the officials. However, the owners were not able to produce the orders.

Revenue officials then went ahead with the demolition drive. “Revenue records show that those plots of land are classified as government poromboke land, but the owners claimed that the plots were classified as grama natham. Even if they are grama natham, only residential buildings can be built on them, not commercial structures,” explained the source.

After the four buildings, all of which were commercial structures, were pulled down additional space for about 6-8 metres spanning a length of 35 metres was obtained for the widening of the road, which is very narrow at that point.

Poonamallee High Road is an arterial road, and has six lanes along most of its length. It is narrow at just three spots.

Of the 30-odd land owners who are affected by the widening, around 20 have agreed to land acquisition proceedings as the space is required for a public cause.

A total of 1,600 sq. m. is to be acquired at a cost of Rs. 35.08 crore. Owners of plots of land running to a length of 16 metres have agreed to allow the highways department to use their land for the widening project.

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