The Tamil Nadu government has formally started the process of acquiring former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s residence to convert it into a memorial, PTI reported on Wednesday. However, the public notice said that the legal heir of the property was yet to be ascertained.
Veda Nilayam is a sprawling three-storey structure at the upmarket Poes Garden area in Chennai. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had in 2017 announced that it will be converted into a memorial. The residence that was purchased by Jayalalithaa and her mother in 1962 is currently not occupied by anyone.
The Chennai Collector on Wednesday issued a notification to acquire the property for “public purpose”. The project does not involve the displacement of any families or relocation, the notification said. “There are no project-affected families and hence [there is] no question of relocation, resettlement and rehabilitation of the affected families.” The plan can be inspected in the office of the Land Acquisition Officer and Revenue Divisional Officer, South Chennai Revenue Division, Guindy, on any working day, it added.
Jayalalithaa died in Chennai on December 5, 2016. The government is already working on a Rs 50-crore sprawling memorial for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader at the Marina Beach, where she was buried. Called the Phoenix, it is designed to resemble the mythical bird which supposedly represents the former chief minister’s “persona”. It includes a 15-metre tall monument, a museum and a “knowledge park”, surrounded by landscaped gardens with two roaring lions at the entrance.
In August last year, the Chennai district administration in its report had said that the government’s decision to convert the residence into a memorial was “most appropriate”.
“Since Jayalalithaa was a phenomenal woman leader in a male-dominated society and a role model for women across the country, the decision taken by the state government to convert her residence into a government memorial is the most appropriate one,” the report had said, adding that shifting the memorial elsewhere would hurt the sentiments of people.