Jaya's 'Veda Nilayam' house, converted into memorial opens

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(Eds: Adds details) Chennai, Jan 28 (PTI) Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's Veda Nilayam residence, converted into a memorial by the government was declared open by Chief Minister K Palaniswami here on Thursday.

The Chief Minister announced that her birth anniversary on February 24 would be celebrated as a state event every year.

The Veda Nilayam premises is still out of bounds for the public in view of a Madras High Court order on petitions by Deepak and Deepa, nephew and niece of Jayalalithaa challenging notification for acquiring her aunt's house to convert it into a memorial and the award passed by the Land Acquisition Officer.

The government has moved an appeal challenging the single judge's interim order and the petition is expected to be heard on Friday.

In a simple function, Palaniswami unveiled a plaque that declared the Veda Nilayam residence a memorial in her honour and following takeover of the residential property by the government.

Palaniswami, flanked by his cabinet colleagues, including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal paid floral tributes to a portrait of Jayalalithaa and they lit a traditional lamp symbolising the opening of the memorial.

Later, unveiling a life size statue of Jayalalithaa here Palaniswami announced that the late leader's birth anniversary on February 24 would be observed as a government event to honour her.

The nine feet high statue has been set up in the premises of a state-run higher education facility on Kamarajar Salai in front of the Marina beach here.

Paying floral tributes to her, the Chief Minister said every year, on behalf of the government, her statue would be garlanded as a mark of respect and the anniversary shall be observed as a government event.

Hailing her, the CM listed her achievements which includes all women police stations, a women commando force and special courts to try offences against women.

Named after the former Chief Minister's mother Vedavalli (whose screen name was Sandhya), 'Veda Nilayam' at number 81, in upscale Poes Garden is spread over 24,322 square feet and has a landscaped garden.

The residential building comprises office room, library, waiting room for guests, conference hall and the premises has been cleaned up and painted, a government release said.

Reportedly, the property was bought by Jayalalithaa's mother in the late 1960's and it was home to the late Chief Minister for over three decades where several leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on her.

The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed the government to go ahead with the opening ceremony but ordered that the building shall not be thrown open to the public.

In its interim order, the court said, 'This case spotlights that the challenge involved here is not only confined to the correctness or the legality of the acquisition of the immovable property in Veda Nilayam, but to the incomplete process of acquisition of the movables also.' On August 17, 2017 Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced that Veda Nilayam would be converted into a memorial and opened to public in remembrance of her achievements and service to the people.

The Tamil Nadu Assembly had in September 2020 adopted a Bill to replace an ordinance issued for possession of the late Chief Minister's residence here and to facilitate vesting of movable properties therein with the government. PTI VGN ROH ROH