Despite pending cases in court against the conversion of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's residence into a memorial, the district administration is unperturbed. Speaking to TNM, Chennai Collector V Anbuselvan says that there are absolutely no legal hurdles to the acquisition of the land and that the process will be completed by April.
The Collector says that acquisition of Veda Nilayam to convert it into a memorial is a government directive and it will be followed.
The government had proposed this in August 2017. However, Jayalalithaa's niece J Deepa had moved the High Court, which disposed the plea in October 2017 and directed the state government to take a decision on her representation in four months. In addition to this. Traffic Ramaswamy, a social activist has moved court seeking that public funds not be used for the acquisition.
"Yes, he has filed a case asking that public funds not be used as the Chief Minister was convicted," admits the Collector. "However the High Court has not given a directive on the matter and so we will proceed with our work," he adds.
The District authority explains that the due process under the Land Acquisition Act, including social impact assessment, would be carried out for Veda Nilayam. As far as the matter of legal heir is concerned, he says, "The former CM has not named any legal heir and so as far as claimants are concerned, they will be paid compensation as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. But there is no stopping the process of acquisition now because it is a government decision."
The land has been measured for their records but there were hurdles in the form of income tax raids, admits the Collector. Two rooms in Poes Garden were initially unmeasured because they were sealed by the Income Tax department. "But the IT department later cooperated with us and we managed to measure those rooms as well. All processes are on track."