The Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments department on Tuesday removed encroachments from 3.05 acres of land belonging to the Sri Karivaradharaja Perumal Temple in Mel Ayanampakkam.

Sources said that about 40 huts and a few concrete houses were pulled down during a combined operation by the HR&CE, police and revenue departments. The retrieved land is worth around Rs. 25 crore.

“The land had been vacant till a few years ago when some huts came up. Those who encroached on the land do not have any valid documents. Apparently, someone had sold the land using fake documents,” said a source in the HR&CE dept. Earlier, this parcel of land was used for cultivation and had been leased out. However, the lack of adequate water led to fields being abandoned.

Some residents objected to the eviction. However, the police and officials intervened and pacified them. Some of the inhabitants have been given time to find alternative accommodation after which the buildings they were living in would also be razed down.

Last month, the HR&CE department’s attempt at removing the encroachments failed as they did not have enough police protection.

Department officials including Chennai zone Joint Commissioner N. Thirumagal, Deputy Commissioner Jagannathan, Assistant Commissioner Vijaya and Temple Executive Officer Manivannan took part in the operation.

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