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'Pull Officials Up for Squatters Free Run'

Remove encroachments near Mahamaham festival site: Court

Published: 11th December 2015 05:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th December 2015 05:46 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI:  Holding as a matter of great concern the rampant unauthorised constructions permitted by the authorities within one km of the Mahamaham Temple tank in Kumbakonam town, the Madras High Court  on Thursday directed the State government to fix the responsibility on the officials concerned and take action against them.

What is sought to be done now is to correct the wrongs of the past, the First Bench of Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana said.

The bench said this while passing further interim orders on a PIL from `Elephant’ Rajendran.

There appears to have been no accountability on the issue, the court said.

The officers posted at the relevant time, who turned a blind eye to the unauthorised constructions, must be identified and departmentally proceeded against.

]If criminal offence is made out against them, legal action should be pursued, the court said.

“Unless the officers are made to pay for their negligence and collusion, the situation cannot improve,’’ the Bench observed.

It said the authorities concerned were too late to make necessary arrangements for the February 2016 festival and were not left with enough time to correct the situation.

They should proceed now to see that a brighter picture emerged at least for the 2028 event, the judges added.

The Bench also directed the government to include the representatives of priests and devotees in the committee to monitor the conduct of the festival on February 26 and to improve the facilities to the public.

It also directed the government to give wide publicity to the newly-launched website for the festival. It should have the facility of sharing the feedback and suggestions of the citizens, it said.

Holding that everyone is not well-versed with the technical aspect of the website, the Bench directed the government to make available a postal address for dispatching suggestions and that too must be given publicity.

Action should be taken within a week on all the issues, the Bench added.

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