CHENNAI: Neither the trees will be cut nor any damage caused to the clock tower in Selvapathy Chettiar Park in Perambur, the Additional Advocate-General assured the First Bench of the Madras High Court on February 4.
AAG P H Arvind Pandian said this in response to a batch of PILs from CPM activist M Ramakrishnan and others, which came up before the Bench of Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh, on Friday.
The PILs sought to quash an order dated September 3, 2015 of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department granting an exemption from the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act to a builder - Landmark Barracks Project Private Limited - to construct a multi-storey building in the adjoining area of the park situated on Strahans Road.
According to petitioners, Selvapathy Chettiar was the founder of the Madras Labour Union and the first trade union in India. He was also the Deputy Mayor of the Corporation of Chennai. In commemoration of his services, a clock tower and the park were opened on August 4,1948, by U Krishna Rao, then Mayor of Madras.
Permission was granted to the builder to use certain extent of the park land in lieu of the builder offering certain area on the other side and subject to the condition that he construct a ration shop, a public toilet and a Corporation Division Office. Based on this, the Municipal Administration Department passed a GO dated September 2015, granting an exemption to the builder.
Petitioners contended that this would result in the park, the major lung space, going extinct. There was no public interest involved. When the matter came up on February 4, petitioners stated that the trees had been cut down and the clock-tower under demolition and sought to punish the Corporation officials. They prayed for a direction to the Corporation not to lay the road and restore the pathway and the park. The AAG gave the assurance that trees would not be cut and the clock-tower would not be disturbed.