in distress: The shoe-repair shop of Sharavanakumar, a disabled person, was among those shop owners who got ev…Read More
Thiruvananthapuram: The restoration of storm-water drain along Paruthippara-Muttada road is set to be completed soon. The drain is constructed along the 800-metre stretch which was tarred by PWD a few months ago after Kerala Water Authority completed a major pipeline-laying work.
The construction of the drain along the 15-metre-wide road was scheduled to be completed by middle of May, but got delayed due to Covid-19-induced lockdown. As part of restarting the work, public works department (PWD) on Friday issued eviction notice to owners of make-shift stalls and shops on the 400-metre stretch marked for construction of the drain from Paruthippara Junction to Muttada. As many as seven shop owners were served notice in the first phase. While officials evicted a few of the stalls on Friday morning, a milk booth and a vegetable shop near Paruthippara Junction were given 10 days’ time to vacate the area.
The move triggered strong protest among shop owners and residents. Many of the shops had been functioning for over 10 years.
“My father and I have been working here for around 20 years and the shop is our only source of income. We had reopened our shop only a few days ago after lockdown. We vacated the shop on the direction of police officers, but we shall remain in place. Now the eviction notice has made us helpless. They should have made some alternative arrangements for us,” said Sharavanakumar, who runs a shoe-repair shop on the road.
The shop owners have decided to approach human rights commission seeking extension to eviction notice.
“The construction of a drain in the area is the demand from the public. The soil and debris are removed from the area where the drain will be constructed. It is the only pending work to be completed as part of the road-restoration work. Rehabilitation of shopkeepers is the responsibility of PWD,” said Stephy J George, Kesavadasapuram ward councillor.
According to a PWD official, the shops encroach the footpath and the owners were given eviction notice before lockdown also. “It is a restoration work of the storm-water drain in the area. As we have to complete the work, the shopkeepers were asked to vacate immediately. There were complaints from residents about the shops on footpath. Some shop owners claimed to have permission from city corporation to run the shop, but the road is under PWD and no NOC was issued to them from the department. The restoration work is nearing completion,” said an assistant engineer with PWD who did not wish to be named.