Despite protest, ASI officials go ahead with site survey

Resident of Pallavaram protesting against ASI officials undertaking the survey.   | Photo Credit: G.Krishnaswamy

Braving residents’ protests, Kancheepuram district revenue and Archaological Survey of India officials began their joint survey on lands notified by a 2010 amendment to the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. The amendment brought out by the ASI regulated construction in areas with sites of archaeological importance. Property prices in Pallavaram and surrounding areas dipped as a result.

Though the Madras High Court has given a green signal for a joint survey to begin on Wednesday, residents staged a black flag protest and a section of residents near Gandhi Nagar also staged a protest. They called it betrayal by government officials as they have been living there for more than four decades. Attempts by current MLA E. Karunanidhi and former MLA P. Dhan Singh to make the residents agree for the land survey proved futile. They shouted slogans against government officials and police. At one point, the crowd became restless with some residents arguing in favour of the survey. Former Pallavaram municipal councillor M. Chandrakesavan said the ASI had declared the area, which it classified as a megalithic site, unfit for research so there was no reason for the ban on residents to improve their sites.

About 70 persons were forcibly removed by the police and they were lodged in a marriage hall in Pallavaram. A large contingent of police personnel, including Additional Commissioner of Police M.C. Sarangan, were camping in the area to prevent any untoward incidents.

Revenue officials said that the survey was being conducted after several rounds of peace meetings and after teams under Tahsildars from Tambaram division met various association members to convince them for the conduct of survey. Sensing trouble, the revenue department issued handbills and pasted posters explaining that the joint survey was based on a Madras High Court order. On earlier occasions, the officials could not carry out the survey due to stiff resistance by residents.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 4:37:34 AM |

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