9.5 acres of government land in Tiruvannamalai retrieved, parking facility to be set up for pilgrims

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On Saturday, September 16, 2023, a team of revenue officials including R. Priyadarshini, and Tiruvannamalai Tahsildar, S. Sarala monitored the drive to retrieve the land.

On Saturday, September 16, 2023, a team of revenue officials including R. Priyadarshini, and Tiruvannamalai Tahsildar, S. Sarala monitored the drive to retrieve the land. Photo Credit: Special Arrangementq

Over 50 years after it had been encroached upon, 9.5 acres of government land, worth ₹90 crore, on Manalurpet Road near Girivalam path in Tiruvannamalai town, was retrieved on Saturday. A multi-level parking space for pilgrims will come up on the retrieved land soon.

Officials of the Revenue Department, to whom the land belongs, said that the vast open plot, as well as a local pond, Thiruvan Kulam, had been encroached upon, mainly to park lorries. The pond was used to dump garbage from nearby areas for many years. The open space was also used as a garage to repair trucks. “Based on a Madras High Court order, which said the land belongs to the government, we retrieved the land with the help of local police. The retrieved land will be used for public purposes,” R. Priyadarshini, Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Tiruvannamalai, told. NEInfo.

On Saturday, a team of revenue officials including Ms. Priyadarshini, and Tiruvannamalai Tahsildar, S. Sarala monitored the drive to retrieve the land. Thick bushes and unused vehicles on the open space were removed. Steel fencing around the land was also erected.

The open land and the pond are close to the Girivalam path, which is around 500 meters away. At present, the temple town does not have separate parking facilities for pilgrims and tourists, who come from different parts of the country. During festival seasons, temporary parking arrangements are generally made around two km away from the town. Visitors have to hire autorickshaws to reach the central parts of the town like Girivalam path.

On an average, the town gets around 3 lakh visitors on Chitra Pournami days and 1.5 lakh tourists on weekends. During Maha Deepam festival last December (2022), around 40 lakh visitors came to the town.

Revenue officials said that based on the advice of the Collector B. Murugesh, a portion of the retrieved open land will be converted into a multi-level parking space, mainly for two-wheelers, cars and tourist vans. A nominal fee may be charged for the purpose. Also, basic amenities like separate washrooms for men and women and water taps for visitors may also be set up.

The pond, which is around 15-ft deep, will be desilted and deepened. Inlets to the pond will be re-built to discharge excess rainwater into it. Residents will also be warned against dumping wastes into the waterbody. Fencing will also be put up to prevent children from falling into the pond, revenue officials said.

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