No truth in Karunanidhi’s allegations, says Jayalalithaa

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday refuted DMK president M. Karunanidhi’s allegation that the State government acted at the last minute on the move to demolish the Anna Arch in Anna Nagar.

In a statement, she said the plan to remove the structure was never brought to her notice and she also had not issued any order in connection with it.

On Saturday, Mr. Karunanidhi demanded an explanation from the government on the decision to demolish the Arch and the subsequent plan to retain it.

“There is no truth in the allegation,” the Chief Minister said, adding that she came to know about the demolition only through media reports and immediately issued orders for stopping demolition of the structure, one of the landmarks of Chennai.

“I also directed officials to go ahead with construction of the flyover without disturbing the Arch. Later, at a meeting with ministers and officials, I suggested that the alignment of the proposed flyover be slightly moved east.”

Her decision saved the Arch, built to commemorate the platinum jubilee celebration of the late Chief Minister, Annadurai, when M.G. Ramachandran headed the AIADMK regime. Ms. Jayalalithaa explained that a proposal for construction of a flyover linking Nelson Manickam Salai and the Third Avenue of Anna Nagar was taken in 2010 when the DMK was in power. “But, the AIADMK assumed office after the 2011 Assembly elections and as usual went ahead with implementing projects launched by the previous government. But nobody discussed with me the demolition of Anna Arch and I never issued any orders in this regard,” she further said.

Reacting to his contention that the decision to demolish the structure could not have been taken without the knowledge of the Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa said as per business rules of the government, various decisions were taken at various levels and not all decisions required the nod of the Chief Minister.

“Does Mr. Karunanidhi, who has been the Chief Minister for five times, not know this? Is he not aware that the flyover will cross the Arch when the decision for its construction was taken during his rule? Probably, he is angry that my decision has put paid to his hopes of removing a structure that continued to remind people the achievements of Anna and MGR,” she said. Ms. Jayalalithaa said she had immense satisfaction that the landmark of Chennai had been saved by her government’s decision.