The Madras High Court on Friday directed Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department to come up with a solution to provide public access to a dilapidated temple found on 113.10 acres of land required by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) at Sivadi village in Nallamapali Taluk of Dharmapuri district.
Justices R. Mahadevan and P.D. Audikesavalu said a viable solution for renovating the 304 square feet temple and providing access to it from the main road should be found without disturbing HPCL’s plan to construct a storage terminal on 113.10 acres as part of a ₹3,072 crore pipeline laying project from Vijayawada to Dharmapuri.
The judges directed Special Government Pleader N.R.R. Arun Natarajan to come up with a plan by next week. The directions were issued on a writ petition filed by HPCL highlighting the difficulties posed due to the discovery of the dilapidated temple under the bushes. The corporation was agreeable to any order passed by the court.
In its affidavit, the oil major told the court that it was presently implementing the 699 km long pipeline laying project under the Prime Minister’s e-praghati scheme and that its progress was being monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office. Out of the total cost of the project, ₹911 crore would be invested in Tamil Nadu.
HPCL had acquired 113.10 acres of land through direct negotiation with the land owners and in addition, it required 5.06 acres belonging to the HR&CE department. It was on this part of the land that the dilapidated temple dedicated to Chenrayaperumal Swamy (Lord Vishnu), along with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi, was found.
The temple had a simple construction with the sanctum sanctorum and a Munmandapam without a Vimana. As per an inspection conducted by the archaeology department, it had no ancient architectural features and was assessed to be below 100 years old. further, it was not being worshipped by anyone in the locality.
Therefore, HPCL suggested that the temple could be relocated to an alternative site and agreed to spend ₹1 crore for the construction of a new temple as per the Agama Sastras. However, that could not fructify due to objections by an expert committee and hence it had approached the court seeking a solution to the problem.