The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation petition that sought directions to the State to study the feasibility of establishing an ‘Art Sculpture City’ by altering Yanaimalai, a hillock in Madurai.

Aa. Arasu, an advocate from Thanjavur and the head of an association called ‘Consortium of Tamil Architects,’ claimed that the hillock can become a world-class tourist destination, if it was altered by carving, using laser beams.

He further stated that Rs. 20,000 crores worth granite slabs would be obtained by means of carving the hillock.

The amount could be utilised to establish the art sculpture city, but the people living in and around Othakadai would have to be relocated to complete the project, he contended.

The State had formed a committee to study the feasibility of the project, but withdrew later, claiming that the project would disturb the livelihood of people.        

The members of the “Yanaimalai Protection Organisation” impleaded themselves in the case and opposed the public interest litigation stating that the idea to set up the sculpture city was conceived with monetary gain in mind, given that the hillock is rich in granite.

Justices Chitra Venkataraman and S. Vimala in their judgment said, “We do not find any justification to allow the petition. It is to be noted that on an earlier occasion there was a proposal to construct various structures around the Yanaimalai temple.

The project was rejected by the court, hence we cannot entertain the petition,” they said while dismissing the petition.

In 2011, when the public interest litigation was filed, it created a furore among the residents of Othakadai.

They staged demonstrations in front of the court stating that the hillock was worshipped by them for hundreds of years.