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Demolition drive resumes near Island Grounds

CHENNAI: After a brief halt for the Pongal weekend, demolition of encroachments at Indira Gandhi Nagar and Sathyavani Muthu Nagar opposite the Island Grounds resumed on Monday. More than 500 people have been evicted since last month, and around 1,500 families are yet to be evicted from the locality, which is one of the oldest  and largest slum situated alongside the banks of Cooum River.

Though the evictions were stalled early January after stiff resistance from people who had asked for four months extension till the end of the academic year, slum-dwellers say no promise has been given by officials for the extension. ‘’There are hundreds of school students here who will be taking the board examinations this summer. They are not able to concentrate in the preparations with the fear of evictions behind their head,’’ said Sugumaran G, a resident of Indira Gandhi Nagar.

Perumbakkam is also ill-equipped with only two schools while three schools still have not been taken over by the State Education Department. This means, a large number of students will have to commute by buses travelling around 40 kilometres to-and-fro daily.Meanwhile, officials part of eviction drive said that evictions will not take place before any further orders. “At the moment, only the buildings of evicted families will be demolished,’’ the official added.