HC asks bureaucrats to decide on rehabilitation of encroachers

Chennai, Jul 16 Madras High Court has directed top officials of Tamil Nadu to hold a meeting to determine whether unauthorised occupants of an area were eligible to be rehabilitated. Five senior civil servants appeared yesterday before a Division Bench, comprising Justices S J Mukhopadhaya and V Dhanapalan, who had summoned them in connection with the non-clearance of encroachments on Elango Street at Raja Annamalaipuram in the city, despite several representations from the residents and a court order. Public Works Department (PWD) Secretary N S Palaniappan, Housing Secretary A Chellamuthu, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) member-secretary Mohan, Chennai Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni and Chennai Collector Kakkarla Usha were the officials who appeared before the court. Recording their appearance, the bench directed them to make a recommendation to the Government within 15 days, based on which the Government would take a decision in the next 15 days. ''If the State Government decides to rehabilitate the encroachers, the PWD Secretary would identify an alternative place within two months,'' the bench observed, adding that no rehabilitation should be made in and around canals or other water bodies.
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