The State Government has rejected a proposal given by a Thanjavur-based lawyer to create a Sculpture Park by cracking Yanaimalai, a hillock in the shape of an elephant in a squatting posture, near here.

A Government Order issued by the Tourism and Culture Department on Thursday read that the proposal was being rejected on the basis of a report submitted by the Chairman of a high-level committee, constituted on December 30, for considering the proposal.

The G.O. said that the committee headed by the Principal Secretary-cum- Commissioner of Archaeology Department met in Chennai on February 19 to mull over the issue.

Subsequently, the Commissioner forwarded his report to the Government.

Report

The report stated it was not feasible to create the Sculpture Park because there was a cavern, a few Jain abodes and inscriptions dating back to first century A.D. on top of the hillock.

It also contained a cave temple for Narasinga Perumal.

Hundreds of people living in and around Yanaimalai heaved a sigh of relief following the Government’s decision to drop the proposal.

They had been agitating ever since the news about the constitution of the committee became public.

A. Mahaboob Batcha of Society for Community Organisation (SOCO) Trust, a voluntary organisation here, had also filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court Bench here challenging the constitution of the committee.

Passing interim orders on the petition, the Bench on February 10 restrained the high-level committee from causing any kind of damage to the hillock.

The Central and State Governments were directed to reply to the petition by March 10.

According to the PIL petitioner, the hillock was a solid block of gneiss almost three km in length and about 90 metres in height.

It contained sites of archaeological importance such as bas-reliefs of Mahavir, Parsuvanath, and others.

Ancient

Ancient Tamil Brahmi scripts on the hillock described it as ‘Ivakunram’ meaning elephant hill. The Narasinga Perumal Temple on the hill also contained ancient ‘Vattazhethu’ inscriptions.

“The petitioner firmly believes that the entire concept of Sculpture Park would only benefit the granite lobbies. Already several hills were razed to ground to exploit granites, including the Sarkarai Avulia Darga hillock in Keelavazhavu and Muthupatti Jain hillock,” he had claimed.

More In: Madurai