Vendors return to encroach upon Nandhi Kovil Street


Corporation fails to follow-up on eviction drive

Lack of follow-up action often defeats the Tiruchi Corporation's sporadic efforts at clearing encroachments in different parts of the city. The Nandhi Kovil Street, in the heart of the city, is a case in point.

Within two years after the Corporation removed a stubborn group of encroachers from the street, the road running from Andal Street to the NSB Road have come to be occupied by vendors and hawkers.

In February 2010, the Corporation had removed a dozen shops occupying vantage space for nearly three decades along the Teppakulam of the Rockfort Thayumanaswamy Temple, especially close to the NSB Road Junction. The move came after several unsuccessful efforts to clear the encroachments as the group of vendors, most of them fruit sellers, had taken the matter to the courts.

A High Court directive to evict the encroachments issued a few years back was finally executed by the officials then.

Service and consumer organisations in the city had welcomed the move as they had long been demanding the removal of encroachments for several years. But the relief proved to be a short-lived one.

Vendors of all hues have come back to occupy the roadsides now, much to the resentment of residents. With the road being situated in the city's prime commercial area, road space is in big demand among vendors and hawkers. Apart from constricting road space for vehicles, even pedestrians find it difficult to make their way through the busy road during the peak hours, observed G.Vignesh, a student.

The Corporation while removing the encroachments had also done away with a parking lot along the Nandhi Kovil Street, reportedly due to public representations complaining that parking of vehicles hindered traffic movement. But the decision to use the road as a parking lot was by itself was intended to prevent vendors from occupying it.

The removal of the parking lot on the road has only turned convenient for the hawkers and vendors. “It is a pity that the civic authorities are not able to ensure that roads which were cleared of encroachments were maintained properly without giving scope for the encroachers to return. The Corporation, which had taken up a beautification and greening drive in the city, should focus on cleaning up the Teppakulam and greening the roads around it,” said R.Gopal, a city resident.

The issue should not be treated as a mere civic or traffic problem. The Rockfort, its teppakulam and the Mainguard Gate are the heritage symbols of the city.

The district administration should take steps to ensure that the encroachments around them were cleared and the entire area was maintained properly.

The vendors, who are from the downtrodden sections, should be given suitable alternative site,observed N.Ramakrishnan, a civic activist.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:06:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/vendors-return-to-encroach-upon-nandhi-kovil-street/article2987565.ece

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