Crime, littering and parking problem were some of the issues raised by Poes Garden residents at the social impact assessment convened by Chennai Collector.

Dont turn Veda Nilayam into Jayalalithaa memorial Chennais Poes Garden residentsPTI
news Jayalalithaa Memorial Sunday, December 09, 2018 - 10:22

Residents of Poes Garden in Chennai’s Alwarpet voiced strong opposition to converting former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s residence, Veda Nilayam, into a memorial. At the first public hearing conducted by the Madras School of Social Work (MSSW) in Teynampet, the residents said that the move will risk their safety, especially of the children and women, with people from across the state coming to the neighbourhood to visit the memorial and vendors setting up shops. 

In 2017, the Tamil Nadu government had proposed to convert the former CM’s residence into a memorial and even allocated Rs 20 crore to acquire the property. Following opposition from activists, it was decided that the district administration would conduct public hearings and submit a report to the government. At the social impact assessment (SIA) convened by Chennai Collector at a community hall in Chokkalingam Nagar, Teynampet, the residents appealed to the government to let Veda Nilayam continue to be a private space while her burial site off Marina Beach can be used as a memorial.

A petition, signed by 108 families, was submitted to the SIA team, reports the Times of India.

While pointing out that Jayalalithaa made sure the residents in the neighbourhood were not affected or inconvenienced during visits by top officials from the country, they said that the Veda Nilayam would lack parking facilities for the public if it is converted into a memorial, causing congestion in the area. Littering, crimes and disturbing the general peace in the neighbourhood were some of the other concerns raised by the residents at the meeting.

The second public hearing will be held on December 10, reports Deccan Chronicle. After the public hearings, the MSSW will submit its report to the Chennai Collector, who will, in turn, present the draft on these public hearings to the Tamil Nadu government to take a final decision on its proposal.

However, two cases are currently pending before the Madras High Court.

On October 18, 2017, Deepa Jayakumar, the niece of Jayalalithaa, had approached the Madras High Court, opposing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s proposal to turn the residence into a memorial. In her writ petition, Deepa had claimed that she and her brother Deepak are rightful owners of Veda Nilayam. Social activist Traffic Ramaswamy, too, had moved the court seeking that public funds not be used for the acquisition.

The District Collector in January had said that under the Land Acquisition Act, social impact assessment would be carried out for Veda Nilayam.

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