MADURAI: Based on the direction of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, many shops inside the Meenakshi Amman Temple were vacated on Friday.
The direction was passed following a major fire in the commercial area of the eastern tower of the Meenakshi Amman Temple, on February 2, when several structures in the nearly 7,000 sq ft Veeravasantharayar Mandapam were damaged. Even though the fire was doused by the Fire and Rescue Services personnel, the works of removing the debris from the accident spot is still underway.
The government has formed a 12-member expert team comprising a retired PWD engineer, archaeological experts, an expert from the IIT, and sculptors to inspect the structural stability of the temple and give specialised inputs regarding reconstruction. The team conducted a meeting and commenced their inspection inside the temple premises on Thursday.
The district administration and the temple authorities asked the shopkeepers to vacate the shops by
11 am on Thursday from the temple and issued notice to this effect to the shop owners. However, the members of the Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Koil Kadaikarargal Sangam submitted a petition to the officials of the district administration asking to be allotted an alternate place for setting up the shops before they wound up at the Meenakshi Amman Temple premises.
Apart from submitting a petition, the president of the Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Koil Kadaikarargal Sangam, S Rajunagalu, approached the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court praying for an injunction to prevent the officials from evicting the shops from the temple premises. However, the court directed the officials to vacate all the shops inside Meenakshi Amman Temple before Friday noon.
Based on the direction of the HC, the shopkeepers vacated the furniture and the items for sale from 22 shops, on Friday morning.
While several people vacated their shops based on the notice given by the temple authorities, a few people were unable to do so, and they urged the temple authorities to grant them time till Saturday.
Taking into consideration the difficulties faced by the shop keepers, the temple authorities granted permission for the people to vacate the remaining shops inside Meenakshi Amman Temple by Saturday.