Attakulangara school demolition stopped

Mayor joins protest against TRIDA for knocking down 126-yr-old structure to build shopping complex

Thiruvananthapuram: Declaring a war on the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority’s plan to acquire the land to build a shopping complex on Attakulanga high school premises, a group of protesters led by Mayor Chandrika forcefully stopped the officials from demolishing a 126-year-old structure there.

With a few days left for the inauguration of the Thakaraparambu flyover, TRIDA has fast-tracked the plan to rehabilitate shopkeepers who had lost their shops during the construction of the flyover.

The shopkeepers who are unhappy with poor business at the permanent shops allotted to them at Central Theatre road had demanded a relocation.

On Saturday morning, the TRIDA officials came armed with a High Court order in their favour after environment activists under the banner of Treewalk lost the case opposing handing over of the two- acre land from the 5.5- acre school premises.

A contractor guided by the TRIDA secretary started pulling down the roof. Within a few minutes, Mayor Chandrika, who is also a TRIDA council member, objected to the work claiming procedures were not followed in the demolition.

“Tenders were not awarded for demolition and the corporation was not alerted at all. Even if a house has to be razed down, the TRIDA has to inform the corporation,” said the mayor.

“The corporation supports a bus bay here but we are against a shopping complex. A shopping complex will only make the area more congested and already several pedestrians are run over by buses. We want the school's greenery and its archaeologically significant buildings to thrive,” Ms Chandrika said.

TRIDA officials claim that the demolition was scheduled to be carried out on Saturday and Sunday to avoid inconvenience to students, but the activists allege that the day was chosen to avoid further stay on work. They have decided to approach the Supreme Court against the TRIDA.

“The complex is only intended for rehabilitation purposes and until now the mayor had not opposed it. We will conduct a detailed discussion and chalk out plans to facilitate the development here,” TRIDA chairman Venugopal said.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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