The Madhavaram – Red Hills Main Road will be slightly less congested for traffic, at least in the near future. A zone team of zone – III officials of the Corporation of Chennai, along with police, removed temporary petty shops and hawkers on both sides of the stretch near the Brinda theatre in Perambur on Thursday.
Thursday’s drive by local body officials was after many delays. “The encroachment drive should have been done on Monday but was postponed to Wednesday and finally, we could remove a handful of hawkers on Thursday,” said a Corporation official. Other officials alleged that political pressure was the reason for the delay.
The 60-feet stretch, a vital link between areas such as Perambur and Sembium in northern neighbourhood and the main city, has been reduced to half its width over the years mainly due to encroachments. Further, the illegal extensions of big shops along the 3.5-km long stretch from Moolakadai to Perambur also brought down space for vehicles.
As a result, motorists have to struggle for space on the stretch, especially during rush hours, while pedestrians barely have any space left. The stretch has more than 220 regular shops. “Walking on that stretch is a risk every day. The stretch turns slushy and congested during the monsoon,” said K. Sampath, a motorist.
Corporation officials said that the removal of encroachments is part of the ‘Litter Free Zone’ concept introduced by the local body earlier this month. On August 13, a team of local body officials had to put the structures they had removed back on the road after a prominent politician ordered the officials to stop the drive.
In March, the Corporation had told the High Court that illegal shops in public spaces would be removed in four months. Accordingly, instructions had been given to zonal officers to enumerate street shops.