Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday promulgated an ordinance to allow the state government to “temporarily” take over the residence of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and to convert the house into a memorial, The News Minute reported. The state government will also take control of the movable items in the bungalow.
Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden area of Chennai served as the residence of Jayalalithaa for over 40 years. An unidentified government official told The Hindu that the acquisition is temporary. No settlement has made to the legal heirs for the take over of the property. The house was purchased by the erstwhile chief minister and her mother in 1962 and is currently not occupied by anyone.
The ordinance allows the state government to establish a foundation – Puratchi Thalaivi Dr J Jayalalithaa Memorial Foundation – to make long-term arrangements for conversion.
The trust will be headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. The other trustees include Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur Raju and government officials including members and the director of Information and Public relations.
“The foundation will take necessary steps to maintain ‘Veda Nilayam’ and take necessary steps for the maintenance, upkeep and safety of all movable properties therein,” a statement released on Friday said.
It also said that the decision was taken as movable items such as furniture, books and jewels in the building have not been used for more than three years. “So, the government decided to transfer all the immovable and movable properties to the government for its upkeep until the acquisition process is complete,” the statement added.
In August 2017, Palaniswami had announced the government’s decision to acquire Veda Nilayam and turn it into a memorial. On May 6, the state government formally started the process of acquiring the residence. The Chennai collector issued a notification to acquire the property for “public purpose”. The project does not involve the displacement of any families or relocation, the notification 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”.