Abused, robbed of its beauty, none to take care of Marina Beach

Official apathy turns beach an eyesore.

Chennai: Marina, the second longest beach and pride of Chennai, is systematically turning into a hub of anti-social activities, thanks to a handful of Chennai corporation employees and a few policemen. World-class maintenance and the pomp promised under the beach beautification project are slowly fading out and illegal activities like the sale of liquor brought from Goa and Puducherry, besides ganja and gutka pedalling have been gaining momentum. While those selling banned gutka, contraband and liquor are detained by night patrol, those in station duly let them off without registering cases, informed sources told Deccan Chronicle.

Earlier this month, three people detained for selling liquor brought from Goa and those caught enjoying the drinks on the beach were let off after collecting a paltry sum. The police and the corporation authorities allow illegalities to happen so that they can reap benefits from offenders. There is also a nexus allowing food outlets to function till late in the night for a monthly cut. Further, there is no restriction on the temporary, makeshift shops that mushroom during weekends, sources said.

“Two years back, the Chennai corporation and the police formed a network to ensure that the beach is safe and clean for visitors, but after the transfer of corporation deputy commissioner Arun Sundar and the previous commissioner Vikram Kapur, the set of rules framed by them is not followed”, said a corporation official. Back then the police and corporation would conduct joint drives against enchroachers on the sands of Marina beside raiding and seal the eateries, fast foods joints operating without a valid license.

In the past, the police would never allow vehicles to stay overnight and sale of liquor, tobacco by anti-socials. Transgenders disturbing visitors were also kept under control, then. But now all these steps are relaxed and there is an increase in tipplers discarding empty beer and liquor bottles in the beach area exposing the poor surveillance, the source said. All these standard rules have been ignored as shopkeepers grease the palms of police and corporation authorities, the informed source said.

“It seems that the civic authorities are not maintaining the lavatory and the drinking water treatment plant. These structures are stinking and hit you on your face,” says advocate C.A. Prabhakar, who frequents Marina. The corporation should also ban sale of junk foods wrapped in plastic and this will help the children visiting Marina to avoid junk food, he added. When contacted, local D 5 station inspector Mohan Doss refuted the charges as baseless.

“There are vested interests spreading rumours. In all the cases, including the recent liquor bottle seizure case the accused, after two days of investigation have been remanded.” To a query on the station personnel renting out vehicles to transport the accused from station to jail and also collecting money from the arrested during transit, the officer denied the allegations. “Whenever the department vehicle is not available, we hire private vehicles to transport the accused. There is no foul play in this,” he added. Chennai corporation officials were not available for comments.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story