Madurai

Vacancies in Tirumalai Nayak Palace plague maintenance

A view of the Tirumalai Naick Palace in Madurai.

A view of the Tirumalai Naick Palace in Madurai.   | Photo Credit: S_James

Reason for poor upkeep is the lack of a sizeable workforce: officials

MADURAI

For years now, tour operators, tourists, history enthusiasts and residents of Madurai have been wondering why the Tirumalai Nayak Palace is badly maintained.

The prominent pillars have names and initials scratched all over. Plastic wrappers and food can be found dumped in small ditches. It is impossible to miss the pigeon droppings strewn all over the ground. When it rains, the palace is flooded as original drainage systems have been altered, say sources in the administration. The flooding causes a stench — warding tourists away from the site.

Officials in the State Archaeology department say that the reason for poor upkeep is the lack of a sizeable workforce. There are 19 vacant positions among 33 in both the administrative and technical sections at the Palace. Each monument requires an archaeological officer, two epigraphists and a curator in senior technical roles. Currently, only a curator has been hired. He looks after the other jobs too with his limited expertise. The junior technical section requires one Assistant Engineer, a ‘stapathi,’ a draftsman and a chemist but only an assistant engineer has been employed.

There are no designated sweepers and gardeners to clean the area. A total of four watchmen have been hired to take charge of security, look after the palace, check bags of people for food items and other dangerous material before they enter. However, they have been employed for a meagre salary on a part-time basis, according to a source from the department.

To ensure that there is basic maintenance, a source says that members of the department have now resorted to calling for volunteers to clean the palace at regular intervals.

The Deputy Director of the State Archaeology department, Sivanandam, says that the department has called for filling up 23 vacancies across the Madurai region. “We are confident that the vacancies will be filled up this year,” he says.

K. Sakthivel, Curator and Assistant Director (in-charge) of Tirumalai Nayak Palace, says, “The palace contributes an average of ₹25,000 each day to the government. It would be ideal if the vacancies are filled up.”

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 6:54:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/vacancies-in-tirumalai-nayak-palace-plague-maintenance/article23816188.ece

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