K. Raju

No follow-up action; officials fritter away eviction drive benefits

Encroachers have brushed away warning

Municipal officials blame police of inaction

THENI: Though Municipal officials removed encroachments and roadside shops on Theni-Dindigul and Theni-Cumbum highways for free flow of traffic, their efforts were in vain. It has not brought reprieve to residents of Theni. The encroachers are back at places they occupied within 12 hours of eviction drive, thanks to absence of follow-up action by revenue and police officials.

Municipal officials removed unauthorised constructions, including protruding shelters before shops, and evicted all roadside shops and carts that occupied a major portion of these highways, on Wednesday.

Brushing aside warning, a majority of encroachers have re-established their shops on both sides of these highways in the evening itself.

Waste of efforts

The money, time and manpower spent on the eviction drive has been frittered away without any tangible result.

Lorries, mini buses and autorickshaws had been using major portion of these highways for parking their vehicles, leaving no room for smooth traffic flow. Traffic snarls were worse on festival days. People made repeated representations to the authorities to evict the encroachments, regulate roadside shops to ensure smooth flow of traffic and pedestrians could walk safely.

With the encroachments back, the comfort and relief enjoyed by pedestrians and road users did not last even for 12 hours.

When contacted, the municipal officials blamed inaction of the police. “How could we monitor encroachers? Mere reprimand by the police would suffice to keep the encroachers away from the road. We are helpless without any help from the police, they said. Once again, a lone traffic police constable, amid all these encroachments, has been struggling to regulate traffic at Nehru statue junction and hapless private vehicle operators, innocent students and irritated pedestrians try their best to pass through the chaos.