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Residents picket RDO office

Special Correspondent
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Fearing eviction by railway officials following report in a vernacular daily

INSTANT REACTION:Residents agitating in front of the RDO office on Thursday. —PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM
INSTANT REACTION:Residents agitating in front of the RDO office on Thursday. —PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM

A large number of people residing on railway land at Khajapettai and its surrounding areas laid siege to the Revenue Divisional Office at the collectorate on Thursday fearing an impending eviction drive and demanding issue of pattas for their house sites. The residents, a majority of them women, thronged the collectorate in the morning and sought the intervention of revenue officials. Their action came in the wake of a report in a vernacular daily stating that some railway officials had inspected the site recently and planned to take up an eviction drive soon.

The residents, most of them daily wage labourers, said over 2,000 families were residing at the site, most of them for over three generations. “I was born and brought up at the place. All of us live in huts and we want pattas to be issued in our names,” said Sathyavani, a resident. “Where will we go if evicted? All of us have ration cards and electors’ photo identity cards. All we want is peace of mind,” said Sulthana, another resident. The residents were accompanied by a couple of DMK councillors and local representatives of political parties. Representatives of the residents held talks with Revenue Divisional Officer Basheer initially. Later, Collector Jayashree Muralidharan intervened to call for talks with the residents’ representatives and railway officials. Revenue officials later said that the railway officials informed the meeting that they were only planning to raze some new buildings and a few commercial establishments which had come up at the place. The agitated residents dispersed as the officials told them that there was no move to evict them as of now.

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