Today's Paper

Tiruvanmiyur encroachments go

Corporation bulldozers demolishing encroachments on East Mada Street near the Marundheeswarar temple at Tiruvanmiyur on Saturday morning. — Photo: N. Balaji

Corporation bulldozers demolishing encroachments on East Mada Street near the Marundheeswarar temple at Tiruvanmiyur on Saturday morning. — Photo: N. Balaji  

CHENNAI NOV. 1. Vast road space was cleared as Chennai Corporation earthmovers demolished buildings in areas adjoining the Marundeeswarar temple tank at Tiruvanmiyur, but several hawkers were left in the lurch today.

The equipment brought to East Mada Street this morning brought down two major structures, which had been left standing after an October 7 demolition drive.

More than 50 shops have been demolished on East and North Mada Streets, adjoining the tank. The road width has literally doubled to 100 feet and traffic moves smoothly. Road widening works have commenced on the stretch, with cement paving getting under way. The Corporation also proposes to lay a footpath where the shops stood once.

Though the demolition and subsequent reclamation of space promises to be beneficial to road-users, the hawkers feel victimised. ``We do not want to blame Corporation officials. But we have been living here for several generations and today we feel as if we do not belong here,'' said Kanniamma, a flower vendor.

What has irked some of the petty shopkeepers, who lost their buildings, is that they were paying rent to the temple authorities till last month. ``If the buildings were illegal structures, why did the authorities collect rent? Even last month, we paid Rs. 75. We have also paid Rs.1,000 as deposit for obtaining power connection. Why did the Electricity Board give us power connections,'' asked Thripurasundari, another flower vendor.

Though all shops have been removed from the stretch, the statue of a political leader stands undisturbed in a corner of East Mada Street. ``The local politicians have threatened to protest if the statue is moved,'' said an official.

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