Many demand scrapping of ASI notification and resultant restrictions on construction activity

A day after the High Court’s interim order asking the Pallavaram Municipality to accept building plan applications from residents in certain areas, those affected in Zamin Pallavaram were keen that restrictions on construction be removed soon.

Construction and repair work in this area had ground to a halt in 2010 after a notification from the Archaeological Survey of India. 

While some residents were glad that the “first battle was won,” others went further and demanded the scrapping of the notification in toto.  

V. Jayaraman, petitioner in the case, told The Hindu that the notification on regulation of construction activity had created a lot of difficulty for thousands of residents in Wards 11 to 16. They were unable to get power supply connections or construct houses on plots belonging to them.

“Until now, the Pallavaram Municipality kept refusing to accept our applications, asking us to get an NOC from archaeological authorities. At least now, it can accept them,” said Mr. Ramanujam, vice-president of the Federation of Civic and Welfare Associations of Pallavaram.  

Residents were unhappy over the confusion that had prevailed for nearly one-and-a-half years.

“The confusion and panic could have been avoided long ago had the ASI acted,” said E. Seeralan, a resident and activist.

G. Maheswari, Superintending Archaeologist, Chennai Circle, ASI, said Pallavaram was an important megalithic site and that several tools used during that period were found here.

According to her, they had been keen on conducting a joint survey of the land with the Revenue Department of Kancheepuram District but the residents had resisted.

Staff at the office of State Archaeology Commissioner, the competent authority for issuing NOCs, said they had received around 200 applications from Pallavaram residents seeking NOCs and they were still pending.

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