Mohamed Imranullah S.

‘Bhoomi puja' conducted for a housing colony near bus stand

MADURAI: Madras High Court employees here demanded an exclusive housing colony in 2004; works for identifying the land began in 2005 and officials zeroed in on a 3.7-acre site opposite to the Maatuthavani Integrated bus terminus in 2006.

Thereafter, a building plan was drawn in 2007 for constructing 16 ‘A' type apartments, 48 ‘B' type, 112 ‘C' type and 96 ‘D' type apartments along with a play area and other amenities. Nevertheless, there was a slump in the progress of the project for a year.

In June 2008, a Lok Adalat comprising the Law Minister Durai Murugan, the then Chief Justice of the High Court A.K. Ganguly and the then Chairman of the Law Commission AR. Lakshmanan directed the Government to complete the project, preferably, by the end of year.

A few months thereafter, it was announced that the construction would be taken up by the Public Works Department (PWD) instead of the Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB). A foundation stone laying ceremony was held at Court Hall No.1 of the High Court Bench on November 1, 2008.

The PWD, in February 2009, submitted a revised estimate to the Government to hike the project cost from Rs.19.38 crore to Rs.25.2 crore in view of escalation in prices of construction materials and considering the changes made by the High Court to the original building plan.

The court had insisted on leaving vehicle parking space in the ground floor. Therefore, it was decided to construct four-storey buildings instead of three-storeys as it was planned originally. The sanction for the revised estimate got delayed due to the Parliamentary elections.

After three months, a Government Order was issued in June 2009 granting sanction for Rs.25.2 crore.

Subsequently, the PWD kickstarted the process of calling for tenders for various works and finalised the contractors even as the High Court staff waited with bated breath.

At last, the court employees were able to see some light at the end of the tunnel on Monday when the officials brought a set of bricks and a bag of sand to the construction site, for the first time, to conduct a ‘bhoomi puja' .

Having waited for nearly six years, the staff now only hope and pray that the buildings would come up within 15 to 18 months without any further delay.