Civic body commenced drive against illegal structures near Island Grounds on Wednesday

A Chennai Corporation drive to remove encroachments near Island Grounds that commenced on Wednesday was suspended by the civic body following resistance from residents.

The drive was suspended soon after residents of Sathya Vani Muthu Nagar neighbourhood were seen arguing with Corporation officials and the police. A large number of police personnel intervened and brought the situation under control.

“My shop was the first to be removed. They did not permit me to remove it on my own. I lost around Rs. 4,000. The police were rude with me and the officials did not remove other encroachments in the area,” said Rangammal, a widow whose shop was removed from the footpath.

Some of the encroachments were on the footpath of Anna Salai, a few were obstructing a public toilet in the neighbourhood and others were on an interior road.

Corporation officials said they had removed five shops that were obstructing the movement of conservancy vehicles and pedestrians. “We have given ten other residents three days’ time to remove encroachments and they have assured us they would do so on their own,” said a Corporation official.

Conservancy operations in many neighbourhoods have been hit recently because of the reduced width of interior roads.

“Compactors for conservancy operations are unable to reach the interior areas because of the encroachments on the roads in such areas. We will remove all such encroachments,” said the official. The drive would facilitate restoration of public toilets too, the official said.

The Corporation will complete repair and renovation of all damaged toilets in the city shortly. The toilet in the neighbourhood is among the 294 facilities that will be restored. The public toilet in Sathyavani Muthu Nagar on Anna Salai is also damaged and encroachments prevent access to the facility, said a Corporation official. Many other public toilets in the city are in a similar condition.

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