Tension in San Thome shore zone as Corporation pushes its civic plans

Tension reigns in the colonies that border of what is called the Marina Loop Road, the road that runs off from the Light House and along the beach behind the housing colonies and fishing kuppams in San Thome.

Chennai Corporation has issued notices to all those who encroach on civic land to move out of the place by the end of the month to let the civic body carry out its plan to widen the road on the west side as part of its plan to create a better road to take the traffic it will divert this way.

Protests were held last weekend and the community is debating the issue.

While the kuppams of yore have made way to a new set of tenements built by the state and now occupied in parts development of more blocks is still on here. A large fish market thrives on the sand side while fishermen ply their trade even to this day though their numbers have come down and families who have nothing to do with this vocation have moved in here.

What was once a service road used by the community became a road to funnel traffic traveling south to ease the pressure on San Thome High Road. Over time, many outsiders have set up shop and built huts in open spaces on both sides of the road.

Chennai Corporation has been keen to extend its plans to beautify this section of the beachfront and even began work but this was challenged by activists who say the civic body violated coastal regulations. Now, the civic body is keen to expand the road on the west side.

All this comes in response to huge pressures by traffic on the high road; in the past little was done to address the civic needs of the community here. In recent times, outsiders have also hijacked the open space – the south end of the road side is treated as an open air bus parking zone.