While the state government is keen to turn Veda Nilayam into a memorial for former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, residents in Poes Garden have opposed the idea.

Turning Jayas Poes Garden home into a memorial Public consultation on Jan 2PTI
news Controversy Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 09:59

Over two years after the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the state government has set the date for a public hearing on converting the late leader’s home into a memorial.

According to a report in the Times of India, the Tamil Nadu government has called for a public hearing on January 2, 2019. To be held at the corporation community hall in Chockalingam Nagar, Teynampet, the hearing comes weeks after a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) reportedly gave its nod.

“The project is within the ambit of the government order because only the former CM’s residence can be converted into her memorial. Our assessment has found that there will be no social impact due to it. No property would be affected due to acquisition of ‘Veda Nilayam’ as it is the only property that will be taken over for the purpose. A total of 10 grounds are needed for the project,” it reportedly says.

According to the newspaper, the SIA has been conducted by the Madras School of Social Work (MSSW) and its report has been displayed in public at the office of the Chennai district collector.

Days after the AIADMK supremo passed away after a 75-day hospitalization at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, a Change.org petition sought to convert Veda Nilayam into a memorial for the late leader. This was soon echoed by AIADMK leaders, while Jayalalithaa’s nephew and niece, Deepak and Deepa, who have claimed ownership of her properties, have objected to it.

Sasikala Natarajan had been residing at the property, following the death of Jayalalithaa. With her imprisonment at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru in the Disproportionate Assets case, calls for converting the residence into a memorial grew louder.

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.

However, residents of the posh Poes Garden area have voiced strong opposition to the move. At the first public hearing conducted by the 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. Social activist Traffic Ramaswamy too, had moved the court seeking that public funds not be used for the acquisition.

Number 81, Veda Nilayam, Poes Garden was bought by Jayalalithaa and her mother Sandhya in 1967. The property is spread over 24,000 square feet and is considered prime real estate in the city.

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