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Drive to remove encroachments in Besant Nagar begins

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CLEARING THE WAY: An earthmover levels the ground after removing several encroachments near Seventh Avenue in Besant Nagar on Wednesday.
CLEARING THE WAY: An earthmover levels the ground after removing several encroachments near Seventh Avenue in Besant Nagar on Wednesday.

Kannal Achuthan

Chennai: A massive drive to remove encroachments in two locations in Besant Nagar was taken up by the Chennai Corporation on Wednesday.

Encroachments in Vannanthurai and near the Ashtalakshmi Temple by the beach were cleared by the Corporation workers from the Adyar zone with protection from the police. Based on the Hawking Committee report, the High Court had directed that the encroachments be removed. Those evicted would have to relocate to a market near the Besant Nagar bus terminus.

A large portion of the Seventh Avenue Road in Besant Nagar had been eaten away by the encroachments. Makeshift fish stalls, snack shops, balloon shooting stalls and toy shops had come up on in the area. About 60 stalls were removed from the encroached space near the temple.

Some of the vendors expressed anguish and anger at being forcefully evicted. They said that their livelihood depended on the shops. Corporation officials said that the hawkers had been given notices several time in the last year and a half, asking them to shift to the market complex.

About 200 police personnel were deputed on the spot during the removal of encroachments.

Two heavy duty cranes and three earthmovers were used during the drive. The road, which had not been mended for several years due to the encroachments, was re-laid the same day.

A similar drive had been taken up in 2003 but the encroachments had sprung up again. Corporation officials said that regular checks would be undertaken to ensure that the encroachments do not reappear.

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