1,000-yr-old temple freed from encroachments near Arakkonam

1,000-yr-old temple freed from encroachments near Arakkonam

Arulmigu Azhagaraja Perumal Temple was built in the 11th century during the reign of Parantaka Chozhan I in 2.30 acres in ward 6 of the Thakkolam town panchayat near Arakkonam.

Vellore: In a move which brought satisfied smiles all around, the Ranipet district administration successfully removed encroachers from a 1,000-year-old temple near Arakkonam on Thursday.

Public lauded Collector Baskara Pandian for the move, which was planned meticulously so that there were no agitations by the affected.

Arulmigu Azhagaraja Perumal Temple was built in the 11th century during the reign of Parantaka Chozhan I in 2.30 acres in ward 6 of the Thakkolam town panchayat near Arakkonam.

The encroachment issue was brought to the notice of the district administration in 2017 by HR&CE officials, who were vested with powers to run the temple. “We approached revenue officials to remove the 53 encroachers who had totally encroached inside the temple resulting in there being only traces of the sanctum sanctorum while only the highly dilapidated Raja Gopuram existed,” said temple EO T Sivakumar.

Elaborating, he said, “when we spoke to those around 60 years in the area, they revealed that they had never seen traces of the sanctum sanctorum or the other temple related facilities like the pond. Revenue officials informed us that they were awaiting clearance from the CLA (commissioner land administration) to hand over house sites to the 53 encroachers.”

Though a lower court issued orders to evict encroachers in December 2021, it was reiterated by Madras High Court verdict this year based on a public interest litigation which thus cleared the way for the district administration to issue eviction notices to the encroachers promising them alternate 2 cent sites each at nearby Nagarikuppam, officials said.

“The encroachers occupied a total of 45,160 square feet and if not evicted the temple would have vanished totally forever,” a senior official said. Collector Baskara Pandian inspected the encroachment removal work at the spot on Thursday while HR&CE officials were overseeing this work late into the evening.

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