press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
Pachalam witnessed a fresh bout of protest on Thursday as attempts to resume the construction of the controversy-ridden Railway Overbridge (ROB) were met with stiff resistance.
The protests began around 8.30 a.m. in the morning when a group of about 50-odd people, including women and children, staged a march to the worksite amidst heavy police security and prevented the workers from commencing work. Following this, District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam held a discussion with the protesters.
But the talks failed and the protests resumed by 3 p.m. with more protesters converging at the location. Soon, the police intervened and the work resumed at the eastern end of the bridge after the protesters were forcibly removed from the site. They were released from police custody later in the evening. The police registered a case against about 60 protesters, including 20 women.
“The decision to restart work on the ROB follows a High Court order and the police will be providing necessary security cover to the construction site and also for the workers. The work has resumed and no interference from outside will be allowed from here onwards,” the Collector said.
According to him, the district administration has assured the protesters that it will expedite payment of compensation to the evictees and that the land of Kattungal temple will not be used for the project. “They, however, are insisting on stopping the work before further discussions, but we are not in a position to permit this,” he said.
A decision on restarting the project, which had come to a standstill two months back, was taken at a high level meeting convened by the District Collector on Monday. The meeting also decided to seek the help of the police force, if necessary, to provide security to the workers.
Meanwhile, the agitators warned of more protests if the authorities attempted to resume the work. “At any cost, we will not let the work resume and are ready to face any consequences,” said Abiju Suresh, general convener of the Janakeeya Samara Samithi, which leads the protests.
From : The Hindu