I recently shared an article about how the Greater Corporation demolished OMR Food Street, Thoraipakkam. I came up with the article after going through a lot of major websites. Lesser did I know that all the stories I read were misleading.
Yes, you read that right. None of the Media (excluding one or two) cared about the other side of the story. Literally, no one understood what the people would be undergoing through with all these misleading articles. This is just an example of poor coverage. Media is the face of the people and it’s a high time the media journalists should act like one.
Since I’m emotionally attached to this place, I wanted to know the entire story thus I somehow got in touch with them. They revealed their side of the story. I’m sharing the gist of my conversation with them.
I asked them what had really happened. They revealed that- Yes, the Greater Chennai Corporation really did demolish the place, but the team has the permit and the OMR Food Street is only going to get better with new concrete buildings.
The first outlet of OMR Food Street which was started in Thoraipakkam in 2014 is undoubtedly a place would have seen a lot of struggles and good memories. Not only for the team but also for us, the customers.
Started in 2014, the landowner Mr Ramanathan who is no way connected to the team agreed to provide the land on lease to the team. At that time, the idea really wasn’t to start a food street but something like Super Market. When the team approached the landowner, The latter confirmed that he has the permit for building a commercial place in the area. Things were crystal clear at that time and for the next three years.
In 2017, there was a legal dispute between the Greater Corporation and the landowner Mr Ramanathan saying that the landowner didn’t renew the planning permit for putting up these structures. Mr Ramanthan took the matter to the court claiming that the case must be examined from all the angles. The Food Street team was also invited by the court as the team are the one who would be affected the most. That was the time when the team became a petitioner highlighting the interest of the retailers out there and how the place had strictly followed all the Government norms right.
After the team presented all the documents, considering the number of people who would get affected by this, the court asked them and the Greater Corporation to come to an agreement and thereby, the court ordered that there shouldn’t be any action taken on the place for three months.
In this time period, the team tried to figure things out with the city Corporation, telling that they shouldn’t suffer because of the mistake of the landowner and so, they wanted to know the process for renewal of the permit as they were willing to take it up. In the beginning, the Corporation was helpful but unfortunately, the compromise did not happen in 2018.
So, once again they went to the court, and the court asked the plans of the Corporation, for which they replied that they wanted to go ahead and dismantle the place. The court granted the team the time till November 2018.
Before the given time, the team has acquired the permit for the plan not only for the metal structure to completely build a new one. In the interim, there was an individual complaint on the place. The complainant stated that the food street is causing hindrance to the public because of the traffic and for the commoners around the food street. So, the court again called up the Chennai Corporation and the team.
Now, as the five-year lease is ending in a few days, and the team is planning to renovate the structure, they went on to withdraw the petition they submitted in 2017 which means the older ruling would stay, that’s nothing but demolition of the place.
Anyway, the team would have demolished the place to rebuild it. Unfortunately now, the Corporation gave the team only a short time to relocate all the shops as they were supposed to give an immediate report to the court.
The team had to work overnight to move the shops from the place to other outlets of OMR Food Street.
Of course, the team agrees that the Corporation was within its limits and was supportive.
Now, say by the end of this year, OMR Food Street will come up once again as a strong concrete structure.
Well, this is the gist of the information shared by the team to me. It is disheartening to see a lot of newspapers working without hearing out the complete news. Of course, it is not going to hurt the papers in any way but imagine the people involved in it.
The OMR Food Street chain has some of the amazing shop owners starting from single mother to a pilot who resigned his job to open a shop here and many more amazing stories. That is why this place will always close to our hearts.
Thanks, team, for taking the time to share the story with me. Now, I cannot wait to meet and share the amazing stories of the shop owners.