Tangedco to allow villages around protected sites to obtain power connections
Until Saturday, villages in and around archaeological sites in Tamil Nadu did not have power supply at all, on a mere technical point.
Residents living near archaeologically-protected sites in the State simply could not get a power connection, on the grounds that they were too close to heritage structures.
However, on Saturday, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco), in an order, said that electricity connections to such buildings and houses may be considered without calling for a ‘no objection certificate’ from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
This order comes close on the heels of a series of protests by residents of Thiruporur in Kancheepuram district. Many residents in the village, including those in an Irula colony, continue to live in darkness. The Hindu has highlighted this issue several times, most recently on January 15.
The Tangedco order follows a clarification from the ASI that it has no jurisdiction over the sanction of electricity or water connections under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010.
A senior official at Tangedco said that chief engineers have now been instructed to provide electricity connections to areas around ASI properties. He said: “Previously, no applications for electricity connections were entertained from property owners coming under ASI’s jurisdiction.”
T.N. Shanmuganathan, who led the agitation in Thiruporur demanding electricity and water, said this would bring those living in darkness to light.
Saktheeswari Sivaraman, president, Thiruporur town panchayat, said several government buildings including hospitals, schools, block development offices and the famous Murugan temple would now be able to get three-phased power supply thanks to the government order.
Residents will, however, have to submit an indemnity bond stating that the supply may be disconnected if any authority objects to it.
Mamallapuram Special Grade town panchayat’s former chairman, Mallai C. E. Sathya, said the order was a boon to many residents and commercial establishments in the tourist spot.
“We have been unable to create additional facilities for tourists including more rooms, restaurants and shopping areas because of the lack of power connections. Similarly, there was also a real estate slump in the town because of this. All this will change now,” he said.