Hmmm, how to explain what has happened in the city of Cochin and that too the main commercial areas? Well go back many years and know that the business and stores in M.G Road have actually built part of their stores / shops / parking areas / displays on portions of land that is not theirs! Meaning the government owns that section of the road, which is meant for the public to walk / cycle / ride or drive through. But most of the big business and stores in this area have encroached on the areas that are not theirs and built on it. It seems that the government had given out repeated warnings to those business owners not to build outside of what they were provided. And later, after these stores were guilty of encroachment, they were warned that the government could at any time take necessary action.
But the businesses did not take heed and many, many years passed. I’m talking years – children were conceived, born, grew up and got married in that time! Finally now, the government wants to take action and severe action too. Achuthanandhan is here with a bulldozer or three.
|“Speaking to reporters at the demolition site, district collector A P M Mohammed Hanish said the demolition was carried out after a survey was done and notice was served on the encroachers in M G Road in the heart of the city. â€œWe have planned to demolish 25 encroachment on the M G road today (Tuesday),â€ he said.A host of government officials including a strong police force had been deployed at the site of demolition.The collector said the demolition would continue in the coming days.Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan had recently said here that the Munnar model will be implemented in other parts of the state where encroachment was reported.|
So yesterday, the bulldozers arrived and demolished part of the buildings at M G Road. The affected businesses – a huge book / gift / cd store, a bank, a supermarket, a shoe store, several jewelery showrooms etc etc. People gathered on the streets and traffic was blocked for hours at a stretch. A huge group of onlookers start cheering and dancing as it became apparent that the road would now be wider than usual! Which means less traffic blocks along M.G Road.
A new hotel was the worst hit as they had just finished construction on their brand new building which was guilty of encroachment. The huge loss will be difficult for them to bear. I only got a glimpse of the demolition as I came home last night, since I don’t have to go by M G Road on the way or back from work. I hope to see the new M G Road sans encroached sections in a day.