Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has promulgated an ordinance for the state government to take temporary possession of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence ‘Veda Nilayam’, in order to convert it into a memorial. The residence is a sprawling bungalow measuring over 21000 sq ft and stands on ten grounds of prime real estate, at the heart of Chennai city.
A statement from the government said that “the building “Veda Nilayam” including the movable items such as furniture, books, jewels are in a. State of disuse 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 ordinance would enable the government to establish “Puratchi Thalaivi Dr J. Jayalalithaa Memorial foundation’ for making long term arrangements to convert Veda Nilayam as a memorial.
The foundation would be chaired by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, besides the Minister for Information and Publicity, whereas government officials would assume the role of members while the Director of Information and Public relations would be the member Secretary.
The Foundation would take necessary steps to maintain the residence and take necessary steps for the maintenance, upkeep and safety of all movable properties therein.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who had been elected Tamil Nadu Chief Minister four times, died of a cardiac arrest in Chennai’s Apollo hospital on 5th December 2016, following over two months of hospitalization.
After her demise, there was a lot of controversy surrounding her property, as there were attempts being made by her acquaintance Sasikala to acquire the property. Besides her long term-aide Sasikala who had been living in the same residence, Jayalalithaa’s nephew and niece, Deepak and Deepa have also laid claim to the property on the premise that they were her only legal heirs.
After a power struggle within her party, the AIADMK, it was in August 2017 that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that the residence of the Late CM would be converted into a memorial and opened to the public.
Following the announcement in August, an administrative sanction was issued by the Tamil Development and Information Department in October 2017 for the acquisition of the residence. Action for the same had been initiated to acquire the land and building, preliminary notification was published in July 2019 and a declaration has been published in May 2020.
Besides the memorial at her residence, the State Government has also been constructing a ‘Phoenix-themed’ memorial costing about 50 crores, by her resting place on the iconic Marina beach in Chennai.