It was high drama on Butt Road in Kathipara on Thursday as revenue department officials demolished buildings that had encroached on government-owned land at seven spots on the stretch in an exercise that went on from 6am to 1pm. More than 200 police personnel stood guard.
The authorities managed to recover around 4.5 acres of state government land worth around 800 crore where commercial and residential buildings had stood for a few decades. The retrieved land will be used for government projects, including the Chennai Metrorail.The buildings were sealed first and then pulled down based on Chengalpet collector Rahul Nath’s order.
A few residents protested, but the officials managed to convince them. Residents said that they were shocked to see the bulldozer and police. “These buildings have been here for years. We heard the occupants have been given time to vacate,” said Clint, a resident.
“We recovered land from six spots on Butt Road and one on GST Road. The majority of them were commercial buildings, and some were residential complexes. We have damaged some portions and cut power supply so that the building becomes unfit for use,” said T Arumugam, Pallavaram tahsildar.
He said that the occupants did not pay rent to the government despite using it for years. “We have also evicted one building near the Alandur metro station on the GST Road. The residents were already given notice. But a bank, a few prayer houses, and residents have sought some more time. We have given them a fortnight,” he added.
The building will also be demolished after the people move out.
“The recovered land is in an arterial area. It will house government departments or be used for government projects,” said an official from the revenue department.
Last month, the revenue department recovered land from Zameen Pallavaram, Pallavaram Cantonment, St Thomas Mount, and other areas in Pallavaram Taluk in Chengalpattu district. “We have so far recovered more than 10 acres of land worth close to 1,500 crore,” he added.