Residents of Selaiyur, Tambaram, staged a protest on Friday against a move to use a portion of a school premises for building a pumping station as part of the massive Rs.160 underground drainage project.

Residents said they were aware of reports of the proposal to build the pumping station but their fears came true when staff of Tambaram Municipality made a “site visit” for an inspection on Friday evening. Residents, including women and children, gathered around the staff and had a heated argument with them.

Later, residents told reporters that the piece of land housing the Tambaram Municipal Higher Secondary School originally measured 3.22 acres but about 40 cents were encroached upon. Though they had tried in the past to thwart this, there was very little support from the government.

Now, attempts were being made to use a portion of the school playground for building the pumping station. They said it was shocking to note that instead of the developing the playground, efforts were being made to destroy it. Tambaram Municipal Chairman E. Mani said the land was currently in the name of the School Education Department and the municipality was trying to transfer the property in its name and paperwork was on.

There was a proposal to use about 22 cents of land inside the school premises, Mr. Mani said, adding that the playground would be developed and that he would speak to the residents and address their concerns.