CHENNAI: Amidst complaints from activists that only people from informal settlements were treated as ‘encroachers’ and evicted, the Public Works Department’s (PWD) attempts to inspect a private establishment in Koyambedu under the Cooum Restoration Project, suffered a setback as the officials were allegedly denied entry by the hotel management.
According to PWD officials, the Shan Royal hotel in Koyambedu has illegally extended its boundary by about 40 feet on the banks of the Cooum. “The hotel’s laundry unit is right on the banks of Cooum and has also been releasing sewage into the river,” said an official who was part of the inspection team.
The team of three PWD officials that consisted of an Assistant Engineer and two Work Inspectors, visited the premises on Friday morning, where the official said that they were ‘humiliated’ and sent away without being allowed to carry out the inspection.
Members of the hotel’s management denied the allegations. “We had already told the PWD that the laundry unit was vacated and that we are ready to hand it over. The argument broke out after one of the three members in the inspection team misbehaved with our staff,” said a senior member of the management.
“The said laundry unit is not a part of our property but it was under use and we vacated it after the notice was issued,” he added. The notice was issued to the establishment 15 days ago. State Government agencies have been actively involved in the eviction of informal settlements along the Cooum under the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust with around 350 families along the waterbody evicted and resettled in the last two weeks.