Thursday, July 27, 2017

PWD serves ultimatum to encroachers on Vegavathy river bed

The Hindu: Kancheepuram: Thursday, July 27, 2017.
The Public Works Department here on Wednesday served notices to encroachers on the Vegavathy river bank within the Kancheepuram Municipal limits. The encroachers had been asked to move out of the river bank within three weeks after the receipt of the notice, failing which the department would step in and remove the encroachments.
When the encroachment issue was raised before the State Information Commission by an activist under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in 2012, the PWD had submitted an affidavit claiming that the Vegavathi was only a flood drain channel originating from Thamal lake on the western side of the town.
The PWD, however, had admitted in the affidavit that encroachments such as places of worship, buildings and other infrastructures created under the government-sponsored schemes, did exist on the river. The affidavit also said that steps had been initiated to issue notices to the encroachers.
Initially, the call to remove the encroachments on the river had not get the authorities moving but the deluge during the rains in November 2015 had taken the town by surprise. Several houses built along the river banks had submerged in the flood waters.
Subsequently, the officials realised the need to clear the encroachments on the river. To begin with, they cleared the weeds and desilted the river bed. The slush removed from the river had piled up along the banks. Finally, the PWD had started issuing notices from Wednesday to the encroachers.
Alternative site sought
Meanwhile,residents facing eviction have presented a memorandum to the District Administration seeking allotment of an alternative site. It is said that an alternative site had already been identified by the officials on the Western outskirts of Kancheepuram Municipality for relocating the families facing eviction.