The Madras High Court has called for an explanation from the State government as well as the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department as to how did they sanction Rs. 2.86 crore for laying a road to the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Singavaram in Villupuram district when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had stated that use of heavy machineries and explosives can damage the temple structure.
Justices R. Mahadevan and P.D. Audikesavalu included the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority as one of the respondents to the public interest litigation petition filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam to ascertain its views before permitting the road construction. The Bench also restrained the authorities from continuing the road laying work without the express permission of the court.
The judges also called for the entire records which led to passing of a Government Order on December 7, 2021 sanctioning the construction of the road on the hill. They wondered how could such sanction have been granted when the ASI had stated the road should be laid without breaking the hill and without using heavy machinery and that no construction or digging activity should be permitted within a radius of 300 metres from the foothills.
The Bench further directed the police too to file a status report, within two weeks, on the investigation conducted by them so far pursuant to registration of a criminal case registered against two individuals for having allegedly used explosives to lay the road on the hill. The litigant had complained to the court that indiscriminate use of explosives and heavy machineries to lay the road had damaged the very foundation of the temple.