Tamil Nadu

HC calls for report from Collector on statue reportedly planned on Tiruvannamalai Girivalam path

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed Tiruvannamalai Collector to ascertain whether there was any plan to install a statue of former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on the Girivalam (circumambulation) path by encroaching upon public lands. The court directed the Collector to inspect the spot, ascertain the revenue records and file a report by Thursday.

Justices S.M. Subramaniam and J. Sathya Narayana Prasad also ordered maintenance of status quo until such report was filed in the court by the Collector. The interim orders were passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by G. Karthick, 39, an iron scrap merchant based in Chennai but a native of Nallan Pillai Petraan village in Kilpennathur Taluk of Tiruvannamalai district.

In his affidavit, the petitioner said that he was a staunch devotee of Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai and always participates in the annual circumambulation around the temple. He said, the Girivalam passes through the Vengikkal junction, which connects two State highways, where thousands of devotees conglomerate every year.

An local resident by name A. Rajendran owned 92.5 square feet of land near the junction as per the sale deed. However, the individual had managed to obtain ‘patta’ for much greater extent of 215 square feet and recently sold it to Jeeva Educational Trust managed by E.V. Kumaran, son of Minister for Public Works E.V. Velu, the petitioner claimed.

The trust, in turn, had encroached upon 300 square feet of adjacent land and there was plan to install a statue for the former chief minister Karunanidhi, the petitioner alleged. He claimed that such encroachment would cause hindrance to devotees who participate in the Girivalam and also cause traffic snarls at the junction during other days.

He further claimed that there was also a threat to a water culvert which connects the town’s water channel with a river called Nochi Eri. Any construction over the channel might disrupt the flow of water and flood the area, the petitioner said. On the other hand, the trust contended before the court that there was absolutely no illegality.

The court was told that Mr. Rajendran was the owner of the property and that it was being developed in accordance with law. The Minister was in no way connected with the subject property, his counsel said. However, since the petitioner’s allegations were serious, the judges decided to call for a report from the Collector.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2022 5:04:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-calls-for-report-from-collector-on-statue-reportedly-planned-on-tiruvannamalai-girivalam-path/article65426263.ece