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SPG Church refuses to part with graveyard land

SPG Church refuses to part with graveyard land
Highlights

The Hyderabad Metro Rail’s (HMR) plan to acquire a piece of land from St Thomas SPG Tamil Cathedral has taken a new turn. The church representatives are not willing to part with the 337.5 sq. m land in plot no. 2 of its graveyard as the HMR authorities have not replied favourably to their request to remove three pillars from its premises and instead take a portion of its land where Alpha Hotel and a petrol bunk stand.

What SPG Church wants

  • Removal of pillars 35, 36 &37 from its premises and to shift it by 7.5 metres towards Alpha Hotel
  • The church is ready to bear the dismantling cost of the pillars. As per rough estimates it would cost Rs 40 lakh to dismantle each pillar
  • Church may not part with 337.5 sq metres land in plot no. 2 of its graveyard if HMR does not respond favourably to its request
The Hyderabad Metro Rail’s (HMR) plan to acquire a piece of land from St Thomas SPG Tamil Cathedral has taken a new turn. The church representatives are not willing to part with the 337.5 sq. m land in plot no. 2 of its graveyard as the HMR authorities have not replied favourably to their request to remove three pillars from its premises and instead take a portion of its land where Alpha Hotel and a petrol bunk stand. The church had already given 228 sq metres in plot 1 of the graveyard.
David Thomas, property secretary, St Thomas SPG Tamil Cathedral, says, “On February 24, the High Court directed HMR to submit a report within three weeks but they have not bothered. We will not part with land in plot no. 2 of the graveyard unless the issue of three pillars is resolved. We are ready to bear the cost to be incurred for dismantling the pillars.” The Metro Rail works would be hindered if the church representatives stick to their guns and refuse to part with the land.
  Pillar to post: SPG Church wants HMR to remove three pillars. Photo: Ch Prabhu Das
Henry Jaganathan, executive secretary, SPG Church, says, “We have written 51 letters to the HMR till date and have also met the Chief Secretary on March 10. The HMR had earlier barged into the premises in spite of a stay order and occupied 2007 sq. yards. The court directed HMR to submit a report on the relocation of three pillars but they failed to do so.” NVS Reddy, MD, HMR said, “We still have a week to submit a report and will follow the court’s order.”
A senior member of the SPG Church said that the HMR is taking advantage of the dispute between St Thomas Church and Church of South India. It may be noted that both are staking claim for the property, and as a result Rs 14 crore was deposited in the civil court towards land compensation. Senior officials of HMR as well as L&T say that it is difficult to change the alignment at this stage.
By:T P Venu
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