T.N. promulgates ordinance to take over Jayalalithaa’s Veda Nilayam

Veda Nilayam, the residence of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.

Veda Nilayam, the residence of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.

The State government has got an ordinance promulgated to take over “temporarily” Veda Nilayam, the residence of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in Poes Garden, Chennai. It has also decided to establish a foundation to make the residence into a memorial.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit has promulgated an ordinance to this effect, according to an official release issued on Friday. Senior officials in the government said a sum of about ₹67 crore had been earmarked for the purpose of acquisition.

Headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the foundation “Puratchi Thalaivi Dr. J. Jayalalithaa Memorial Foundation" - will include Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Minister for Information and Publicity Kadambur Raju as members with Director of Information and Public Relations as member-secretary.

One of the reasons cited in the release for the action is that the building of Veda Nilayam, including movable items such as furniture, books and jewels, are in a “state of disuse for more than three years." [Jayalalithaa died in December 2016]. The government had decided to transfer all the immovable and movable properties to it for their “upkeep until the acquisition process is complete.”

Pointing out that the government would entrust the properties with the proposed Foundation, the senior officials pointed out that the acquisition is called “temporary”, as claims and counter-claims over the property have not yet been disposed of. This will be done as per the 2013 law on land acquisition. The amount has been sanctioned for making the settlement to legal heirs, if and when ascertained. Ordinarily, in such case, the government deposits the amount with a city civil court.

A few days before factions in the AIADMK, led by Mr. Palaniswami and Mr.Panneerselvam, reunited in August 2017, the Chief Minister announced that Jayalalithaa’s residence would be converted as a memorial “in remembrance of her achievements and sacrifices for the people of Tamil Nadu".In October that year, the Tamil Development and Information Department gave an administrative sanction for the acquisition. In June 2019, preliminary notification was issued and on May 6, a declaration was published.

An official at the Chennai Collectorate said that after the declaration’s publication [a copy of which has been pasted on the premises of the residence], niece and nephew of the former Chief Minister, J. Deepa and Deepak, who staked their claim over the property in May 2017, have sent their objections by post to Collector R. Seethalakshmi. The official added that within 30 days of the publication of the declaration, any one including residents of the area can send their objections on the acquisition.

Explaining why the ordinance route had to be used, the senior officials said as far as the government was concerned, there was “no legal heir”. However, for the purpose of taking over an intestate property and converting it into a memorial, a law is required. As there is no Assembly in session, the ordinance has been promulgated. Besides, the government had taken prior sanction of President [Ram Nath Kovind] too.

Perhaps, it is for the first time that the government has created a foundation to manage the acquired properties. In respect of former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj, the government acquired his ancestral house in Virudhunagar in November 1975 and another house in T. Nagar, Chennai [where he lived as a tenant for about 25 years till his death in 1975] in July 1978. The two memorial houses are being maintained by the Information and Publicity Department.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 5:17:26 pm |