MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday directed the state archaeology department and authorities concerned to file a status report on the ongoing restoration works at Maruthupandiyar Fort at Aranmanai Siruvayal village in Sivagangai district.
A bench of justices D Krishnakumar and KK Ramakrishnan gave the direction while hearing a PIL filed by SP D Karuppiah in 2017, seeking to restore the fort along with the Sankarapathi Fort in the district, and to enable tourists to visit the site by providing basic facilities.
Maruthupandiyar Fort was declared a protected monument in 1991. Conservation and restoration works began on the fort in October 2019 at a cost of Rs 54.68 lakh. The archeology department had told the court in July 2020 that the works would be completed in a month. But when the case came up for hearing on Thursday, the court was informed that the works are still on. The bench then directed the authorities concerned to inspect and file a status report to the court, and adjourned the case to January 30.
As far as Sankarapathi Fort is concerned, the court was earlier told that no restoration works could be undertaken there without concurrence from the government, since it is situated in a reserve forest. Though the union ministry of forest, environment, and climate change was later impleaded in the case, no further development was reported with regards to the fort.
According to the litigant, freedom fighter-duo Maruthu brothers had lived in the Maruthupandiyar Fort and used the Sankarapathi Fort to train their army.