Tamil Nadu lawyers protest heritage building demolition

July 9th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Salem (Tamil Nadu), July 9 (IANS) Two lawyers Wednesday said they would move the Madras High Court to prosecute the Tamil Nadu government for alleged contempt of court following partial demolition of a heritage building. State government officials demolished part of the 140-year-old collectorate here violating a stay order granted by a division bench of the high court comprising justices A.K. Ganguly and Ibrahim Khalifullah against the demolition, lawyers D. Damayanthi and N. Hari Babu told reporters here.

“Though further destruction of the heritage building has been stopped, we intend to proceed against the violation,” Damayanthi said.

The lawyers led a 250-strong group of demonstrators who criticised the government for destroying vintage, heritage buildings.

Government officials, however, told IANS that work was stopped immediately after the court’s orders were served on them.

Roof tiles and a few pillars of the buildings were demolished before work was stopped, eyewitnesses said.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had laid the foundation stone for the integrated collectorate complex in September last year as part of the Rs.8.88 billion scheme to improve life in this textile city situated 300 km southwest of capital Chennai.

Apart from the collectorate, the projects included improving the police commissioner’s office, a special economic zone (SEZ) and a water supply scheme.

Similar attempts to demolish city and state headquarters of the police department and a college in Chennai had also met with opposition and had been stayed by the courts last year.

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