Some tense, anxious and heated scenes were witnessed in Govindaswamy Nagar in R. A. Puram on Friday. This is a colony that runs alongside the Buckingham Canal, from the Kamaraj Salai side, where a small bridge is located, to the Greenways Road end.
State officials had arrived here to supervise the demolition of houses which are said to occupy space along the Canal, after the residents lost a legal case which sought removal of ‘encroachments’.
Some young men ran up to the overhead train lines of MRTS which runs above the Canal and threatened to jump down as a mark of protest. Women gathered on the main road and staged a dharna. A large posse of police on standby engaged with the community and restrained them.
Meanwhile, JCBs demolished a few houses on the Greenways Road side and this operation will continue, with residents who have been asked to vacate, given time to collect their belongings and vacate.
A small police force was seen here late Friday, to deal with law and order issues.
Some residents claimed that they have lived here for over 40 years and have paid power and water charges too.
The cleanup of this area is an issue that has been dragging on for some years now. The community lost their case in court when the AIADMK government was in power but officials did not clear the houses termed illegal quickly and dragged their feet.
The Canal is heavily polluted and silted in these parts and during heavy monsoon, overflows. It leads into the Adyar river on the south side.