Shops, houses on Rajiv Gandhi Salai demolished; 16 families evicted

Officials of the revenue department under the Kancheepuram district administration on Sunday morning demolished shops and houses that had encroached on Chathira Kulam in Mettukuppam, Okkiyam Thuraipakkam, on Rajiv Gandhi Salai. Following the drive, sixteen families were left without a shelter.

Two-storeyed buildings as well as huts and semi-permanent houses built near the pond were pulled down.

According to the staff, nearly 1.1 acres of the water body, whose original expanse was 2.4 acres, was encroached and notices had been issued in 2012. Adequate time was given to the families to retrieve their belongings before the demolition commenced on Saturday, a source said.

Expressing the anger and anguish of the evicted families, 52-year-old R. Ramachandran said, “I bought a plot here in 1980 for Rs. 5,000. We have been paying all our taxes, including power supply and water charges, as well as property tax, to the Corporation. We were assured that no harm would come to our houses.”

G. Ayyammal, fending for herself since the death of her husband Govindan many years ago and her son Ramakrishnan in 2012, said her thatched hut was her only asset.

“Knowing that we have been evicted, potential landlords have hiked the advance and monthly rent. We cannot even mobilise Rs. 20,000 to locate suitable accommodation,” said S. Lokesh, another resident.

The elderly men and women are daily wage earners, while many of the families’ youth were forced to give up their schooling, and find jobs in the housekeeping section of software companies along the IT corridor to support their families, said M. Shankar who has completed his class XII

Revenue department officials in Sholinganallur said alternative housing sites would be provided to those evicted on Sunday.

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