VILLUPURAM: Pattali Makkal Katchi MLA, who was driving along a forest path to reach a temple near Gingee on Friday, was stopped by forest officials, despite a court order that permitted the road to be used.
The officials blocked several vehicles that were on the way to the temple. Oan information, Gingee MLA A Ganesh Kumar rushed to the spot and asked the officials to permit him and the other devotees to go to the temple. However, the officials prevented them from using the path.
An argument ensued between the MLA and officials and the devotees joined him. The MLA informed the officials about a court order that granted permission for the path to be used and warned them not to act against the order. After a long argument, officials finally relented.
People have to use vehicles to reach Pachaiyammal temple, situated in the middle of Melacherry forest near Gingee, which is about five km from the road. Amman is the main deity of the villagers and hundreds of people worship at the temple, especially during the month of Aadi.
Last year, during the festival season, officials of the forest department blocked the path and said that people can’t use vehicles to reach the temple as it affected the environment of the forest. They also dug huge pits to block the vehicles.
However, the villagers opposed it and a peace meeting was held at Gingee tahsildar office. No solution was reached at the meeting as the forest officials refused to relent and asked devotees to walk the entire five km to reach the temple.
Following this, the villagers and temple management committee official Manimaran filed a case in the Madras High Court requesting permission for vehicles to be used on the path to reach the temple. After an inquiry, the court issued an order a last month stating that vehicles should be permitted on the path for the convenience of devotees. However, even after the order, forest officials stopped vehicles. It was only after the intervention by the MLA that the forest officials let the vehicles pass.