Court resolves decades-old road tangle

Special Correspondent

60-feet `indispensable', say judges

CHENNAI: Resolving a four-decade-old dispute over a road through Thangam Colony in Anna Nagar, the Madras High Court on Thursday ruled that a 60-feet road as part of the West Madras Neighbourhood Scheme was "indispensable and mandatory."

Partly allowing writ appeals from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and the Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB), a Division Bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.A.K. Sampathkumar ruled out additional compensation to residents whose buildings will be demolished.

The Bench directed the residents to vacate and hand over the property within three months.

The appeals were made against petitions filed by Thangam Colony Residents Association challenging the road plan. They contended that a 30-feet road would do and argued that even the TNHB authorities favoured the idea.

The then Advocate-General N.R. Chandran and TNHB counsel D. Veerasekaran had said it was not possible to change the road alignment.

A single judge, besides ordering alternative sites to the affected, had ruled that the residents were entitled to compensation.

Justices Sathasivam and Sampathkumar pointed out that except for two residents, all were subsequent buyers not entitled to alternative sites.

Though there is no provision for alternative sites in view of the stand taken by the Government, they said sites could be given to the displaced residents. But they ruled out compensation, saying, "if any order is passed for compensation for the superstructure, it would amount to placing a premium on illegality and encouraging persons who trespass and occupy land set apart for roads and other public purposes."