Demolition along Cooum gathers pace

The Greater Chennai Corporation on Tuesday stepped up its demolition of encraochments along the Cooum river, not sparing even a place of worship.

Civic officials with the support of the police demolished a place of worship on five grounds of land on College Road.

“This was a hindrance to the Nature Trail project of the Chennai Corporation. After the demolition, the Nature Trail along the Cooum will become a reality,” said a civic official.

This is not the only place of worship built as an encroachment along the Cooum. Several others exist at locations such as Nungambakkam, Egmore, Chintadripet and Chetpet.

M.Kannan, a trustee of the structure that was brought down on Tuesday, said: “The High Court also refused to stay the eviction. I am heartbroken.”

Land sought from govt.

“We have requested land from the government for a place of worship. We asked for six months time for finding an alternative piece of land. But the government rejected it. We are ready to move out of the land,” said K.L. Sathyamoorthy, North Tamil Nadu Organising Secretary of the Vishva Hindu Parishad.

To questions on why the civic body was removing the place of worship, officials said the structure had to be removed for the Nature Trail project in the area.

College Road resident C.K. Devassy urged the Greater Chennai Corporation to start the work on the trail immediately.

“I walk up to the College Lane Park every morning. The footpath is in a very bad condition. Residents have been waiting for the development of the Nature Trail and boardwalk along the Cooum river,” he said.

The Greater Chennai Corporation had proposed the Rs. 9.82 crore Nature Trail along the 1.5 km stretch of the river between the College Road bridge and the Munroe bridge in Chetpet seven years ago. But the project was delayed because of encroachments.

‘Project to take off soon’

“Places of worship are the main stumbling blocks. All the key projects will take off shortly," said a Corporation official.

The civic body proposed the Rs. 9.82 crore Nature Trail along the 1.5 km stretch of the river between the College Road bridge and Munroe bridge in Chetpet 7 years ago

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