The Tamil Nadu Housing Board on Wednesday retrieved prime property worth Rs. 50 crore in Adyar. It pulled down 16 shops and a house during the encroachment removal drive.

The 12.5 grounds of land on 2nd Avenue, Indira Nagar, had been under the control of a single person for over 30 years. Sources in the TNHB said the land had been retrieved following a court directive that allowed them to take over the property after issuing notices to the individual.

“We have been issuing notices since June to him. He has not informed the shopkeepers from whom he had been collecting rent. This morning we gave time to the shops to remove their belongings and only then, demolished the buildings,” said a source.

Tension prevailed in the area for some time as the traders objected to the demolition. A large team of police was posted at the spot.

A.M. Vikramaraja, State president of Tamil Nadu Vannigar Sangankalin Peramaipu, who rushed to the spot, said the traders were not given advance notice by the TNHB.

“They pay their taxes and have the required licences to run the establishments. They should have been given at least a day’s notice. The livelihood of the owners and the employees has been affected. Who is to be held responsible for that? We will hold a meeting of the affected traders tomorrow and provide whatever assistance they need,” he said.

Traders said though they had sought more time to move elsewhere, their request was not heeded.

“Our establishment has been here for over 25 years now. Even last month, the building owner came and collected rent but he did not inform us. Now we have to look for another spot for our machinery, tools and raw materials. We used two trucks today to move our things to Red Hills to another place. I don’t know who will bear the costs,” said an employee of a civil engineering company, whose office was also demolished.

The TNHB plans to construct a commercial complex on the piece of land, which has a commercial classification, sources said.

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