Chennai: Following the Madras high court order to regulate the street vendors on the Marina Beach and to work out a plan for relocating fishermen, the Greater Chennai Corporation is facing stiff resistance from fisherfolk who claim that the land is their heritage.
The HC on December 18 had given certain directions to the commissioner of Chennai Corporation as well as for the city police commissioner for putting in their all efforts for personally supervising the cleaning and other allied regulatory works along the Marina Loop Road.
The biggest issue, in the removal of encroachments, according to fisherfolk in the area, is that they are being grouped with the hawkers who have illegally set up shop. These fisherfolk, from over 11 villages along the Marina are protesting against the Greater Chennai Corporation’s demand to move them to a proposed complex near Santhome.
“After the high court order was passed, the corporation commissioner and police commissioner said that they are going to build a market for us and asked us to shift there. However, this area is an Open Space reservation and nothing can be constructed there and no sign of construction has begun. They just want us all gone from here,” said K Bharathi, President of South Indian Fishermen Association.
They have been living here for generations, claims Bharathi and that their rights are being violated. “When our fathers and grandfathers lived here, there were no roads even. The road laid in 2008 was the first time the corporation approached us. Later, in 2014, the Loop road was build and some of us were asked to move our houses,” he said, adding that they request the civic body to allow them to earn their livelihood. “We will keep the area clean as it is our home,” he concludes....