Demolition: traders to seek legal recourse

CHIKMAGALUR, MARCH 17. Traders and shopkeepers on Mahatma Gandhi Road, the main thoroughfare of Chikmagalur, whose livelihood has been affected by the decision of the authorities to demolish buildings to widen the road, have decided to seek legal action for redressal of their grievance.

S.A. Vasudevamurthy, president of the M.G. Road Building Owners' and Tenants' Association, told presspersons here today that his association will seek a judicial inquiry and will petition the National Human Rights Commission with regard to the incident.

He said the affected persons are angry with the "callous attitude" of the Deputy Commissioner, Rajender Kumar Kataria, and the "indifference" of members of the ruling coalition in the State.

Reiterating that building owners are not opposed to widening of the road, Mr. Vasudevamurthy said legal procedures were ignored while demolishing the buildings. Mr. Kataria is trying to shift the blame onto the municipal authorities, he added.

The worst affected are small shopkeepers who used the rear part of buildings as their residence, he said. The action by the authorities on March 5 has left them devastated.

The building owners are demanding that the Government compensate them for the loss. They denied that they encroached upon the road and said they have documents to prove this.

Noting that the lives of about 7,500 people have been affected, Mr. Vasudevamurthy said schoolchildren facing public examination have been badly hit as many families have been literally thrown to the streets.

They had to live for 72 hours without electricity, telephones or water.

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