DMK's Working President MK Stalin has said in a statement that Tamil Nadu government has to reclaim the lands allegedly encroached by SASTRA Deemed University in Thanjavur.
“While the Government can demolish huts and small houses of the poor on encroached lands, why are they standing mute-spectators when a private university builds structures upon encroached government lands?,” he asked.
He also raised questions as to how permissions were given in the first place to build structures upon government encroached lands and why no action has been taken against the authority who granted permission.
“How did the Centre recognise a University that has disregarded laws to construct its building on encroached lands?” he questioned.
He also added that for over 22 years, SASTRA University has been pursuing its cause, encroaching close to 30 acres and refusing to vacate.
“This is not the right approach for a University,” he said.
According to a report in The Hindu, Tamil Nadu Prison Department will soon begin work on the construction of its ambitious project - open air prisons - in the area. The Prison Department also intends to write to the Thanjavur Collector to take steps to demolish the buildings constructed on the encroached land.
The 58.17 acres of land in question, abutting University campus, have been under a dispute between the deemed University and the TN government since 1996. The TN government has been time and again rejecting SASTRA’s proposal for land exchange.
In September 2017, a split-verdict was announced by a division bench of the Madras High Court. Justice Nooty Ramamohana Rao (since retired) suggested that the government can assign the land in question after collecting Rs 10 crore from the University.
However, Justice SM Subramaniyam, said that no land can be assigned to SASTRA and also directed the State to vacate the encroacher and to take possession of the same within four weeks.