Eviction drive caught in a mix-up between NHAI, district administration in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore
COIMBATORE: The tug of war between officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) of Coimbatore South has resulted in a delay in identifying and removing encroachments at Karumathampatti four-corner junction.
The Madras High Court on November 7 directed the deputy director and project director of NHAI to inspect the area and take steps to remove encroachments, if any. But the process is yet to begin.
When asked about it, project director NHAI Coimbatore A Senthil Kumar said “We have sought clear information from RDO whether there is any encroachment in the road since the revenue officials have land records. We are awaiting their reply.”
RDO Pandarinathan said the department has not received communication from NHAI and that the court had directed only NHAI to conduct an inspection. However, as per the court order, a copy of which is with TNIE, the district collector, RDO South and Tahsildar of Sulur Taluk have been named as respondents.
S Ananda Kumar of Anuneethikku Etirana Makkal Iyakkam, who has been petitioning the collector and revenue department against the encroachments since 2014, alleges that encroachers use political clout and prevent the officials from removing encroachment.
“The width of the Sengampalli-Walayar highway is 60 metres on average. However, it has reduced to 45 metres for about 1.2 km in the Karumathampatti four-corner junction. As a result traffic congestion and accidents are happening frequently. There is no bus stop and rounding for the benefit of motorists at the spot,” he said.
D Prabakaran of Anutheekku Etirana Makkal Iyakkam., who sat on a hunger strike along with members of the outfit for 15 days in 2017, approached the Madras High Court as their protests did not yield results.
Ananda Kumar said in 2014 the then RDO S.Madhuranthagi had notified how many houses and commercial establishments are encroached on, which indicated that the revenue department has the evidence for encroachments in Karumathampatti and that they must share the details with the NHAI.