Encroachments stay as civic bodies delay action

Officials fear erosion of votebank in civic polls.

Chennai: With two months to go for local body polls, civic bodies across the state, including Greater Chennai Corporation, are hesitant to clear encroachments along water bodies and interior roads of commercial areas in Chennai.

Fearing erosion of votebank, action against illegal buildings in Chennai and encroachments had reduced this year in the first six months, says a corporation official.

Even the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority which locks and seals illegal buildings is going slow as 2016 being an election year. Remember, the Assembly polls have just concluded and civic polls are scheduled for October, the official said.

“Two months ago, Madras high court directed the civic body to clear the encroachments in three months. I will wait for one more month and if not cleared still, I will file contempt of court petition,” said social activist ‘Traffic’ Ramasamy who has filed a PIL seeking clearing of encroachments in Parry’s and T Nagar, the commercial hub of Chennai.

When a state top official was contacted on government’s failure in handling encroachments across the state, the official denied there was any such failure at the policy level.

There are collectors retrieving government land in acres costing several crores every year. An extent of 320.52 acres of valuable government lands, worth Rs 114.54 crore, have been resumed from encroachments and safeguarded by providing fencing at a cost of Rs 1.49 crore in 2014-15. Since 2011, close to Rs 2 crore is being spent annually on fencing government lands in each district. For 2015-16, 301.32 acres, worth Rs 64.81 crores, have been fenced and safeguarded, the official said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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