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Collector told to ascertain facts on encroachment of public land for former CM statue

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tiruvannamalai district Collector to inspect and ascertain the facts on alleged encroachment of public land for installing former Chief Minister, the late M Karunanidhi's statue there and file a report before the court on May 19.

A vacation bench of Justices S M Subramaniam and J Sathya Narayana Prasad, who gave the direction while entertaining a writ petition from G Karthick, also directed the authorities concerned to maintain status-quo on the issue.

The PIL petition prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to remove the encroachment in Vengikkal village in Tiruvannamalai district and its surrounding areas.

According to petitioner, A Rajendran, who was owning a land measuring 92-1/2 sq. ft., in collusion with government authorities, secured patta (land deed) over and above the land owned by him. In the encroached portion, attempts are being made to put up the construction, which would cause greater inconvenience to the public at large. The other respondents in the petition included the name of DMK minister E V Velu.

However, the Additional Advocate General objected to the petition by stating that there is no illegality in the matter. The writ petition itself is not maintainable on the ground that the petitioner has no locus to file the petition in respect of such issues, where he has no connection at all, he added.

Considering the allegations and counter allegations, the bench said it was of the opinion the petitioner has raised serious allegations regarding the encroachment, which will cause inconvenience to the public at large, more so, the alleged encroachment is a place which is being used by lakhs of people for the holy 'girivalam' in Tiruvannamalai. Further, it is contended that there is a possibility of heavy traffic congestion, in the event of allowing the construction to be put up in that location and other grounds are also raised regarding the flow of water and would flood the area during the monsoon season.

"This being the factum established, the district Collector is directed to conduct an inspection, ascertain the facts as on today (May 18) and file a report in the form of sworn affidavit as to whether there is any encroachment in that locality or not and file the same by tomorrow before this court. Till such time, status-quo shall be maintained," the judge added.


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