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29 Jan 2023, Edition - 2756, Sunday

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MGR, Jaya statues installed flouting top court order ?

AR Meyyammai



Former Chief Minister and late AIADMK supremo J.Jayalalithaa has got her first statue in Coimbatore, all in gross violation of the Supreme Court directive.

The city woke up to find the statues of Jayalalithaa and AIADMK founder M.G.Ramachandran standing tall next to the famous Anna silai (statue) on the arterial Avinashi Road, a six-laned national highway, on Sunday.

It came as a shock to the media, activists and common public, as nobody knew about the plan and design of the City Corporation about getting MGR and Jayalalithaa’s bronze statues installed on the traffic island.

The traffic island, where Anna statue is, remained covered for over 3 months to give the public an impression that renovation work was underway. But on Sunday, the day when MGR centenary celebrations are held in a grand manner in the city by the ruling AIADMK, the traffic island could be seen with three statues standing in a row.

While the statue of Anna, the founder of DMK, has been refurbished, the statues of MGR and Jayalalithaa flashing their two fingers, indicating the party’s two-leaves symbol, have also come up clandestinely. There was no formal inauguration whatsoever.

Given that the party leaders did not unveil the statues formally, activists say, it was because opening new statues in itself is a violation of the top court’d directive.

The SC in an order dated January 18, 2013 had directed that no permission be granted for installation of any statue or construction of any structure on public roads, pavements, sideways and other public utility places, in the case pertaining to the installation of the statue of late N Sundaram Nadar in Kerala.

Among the many states and union territories, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were also respondents and hence the order was applicable to TN too. The order, however, exempts installation of high mast lights, street lights or construction relating to electrification, traffic, toll or any development/beautification on streets, highways and roads. The case is still pending in the SC for final order.

Even as the SC directive holds applicable for TN, such violation has taken place shockingly, say activists.

Already, scores of banners, buntings, humongous cut-outs and hoardings have occupied the road stretches of the city despite the Madras High Court directing the corporation to remove all illegal structures placed for the MGR centenary celebrations in the wake of NRI youth Ragu’s death, primarily caused by an abutting arch on the Avinashi Road.

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