TN: Salem collectorate building intact

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Chennai, Jul 9: The Madras High Court has stayed the ongoing demolition of the 184-year-old Salem district collectorate building.

Coming to the rescue of the structure of historical importance, the first bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla said the authorities concerned should make an inquiry before continuing the demolition process.

The judges were passing the interim order on a public interest writ petition filed by the Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL) joint general secretary V Damayanthi.

In her petition, Damayanthi said the 184-year-old building made of Burma teak, brick and mortar was still structurally stable and strong. The structure had several plaques, inscriptions and valuable antiques in it, she said, adding that it ought to be preserved as a heritage site.

In this regard, she pointed out that a similar attempt to demolish the building in May 2005 was aborted after intervention by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The then district collector and the divisional revenue officer consulted the ASI and subsequently dropped the demolition plan, Damayanthi said.

The judges, pointing out that the petitioner had made representations to the authorities, said she was free to make fresh representations, which would be considered by the authorities in proper perspective. Until an order giving reasons was passed by the authorities, no efforts should be made to demolish the building, they added.


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