(Published in The Millennium Post on 3 July, 2012, http://millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=4891)
The Madras High Court has issued an order that bans holding of weddings or related events at the Anna Centenary Library. The Tamil Nadu government gave its undertaking to a Bench comprising Justice Iqbal and Justice Sivagnanam, and also promised to return the advance taken for future bookings.
The holding of weddings and other functions in the guise of “cultural events” is the latest twist in the tussle between the ruling AIADMK and the DMK, whose chief Karunanidhi’s pet project the library is.
The library was built at a cost of Rs 172 crore, in honour of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai's 100th birth anniversary, and intended as a centre for arts and culture. AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa proposes to convert the library into a hospital, a move which was opposed through a Public Interest Litigation in the Madras High Court. A stay order has been issued by the court against the shifting of the library.
A fresh controversy was stirred on Sunday, when the state information department was found to have rented out the venue for a wedding reception. When the matter came up for hearing at the High Court on Monday, it was presented that the function inconvenienced visitors to the library, and ate into their parking space, with more than 700 cars belonging to wedding guests.
Media reports said aloo tikkis, kebabs and dosas were being cooked on the premises, flouting a government order that bans eatables in the library.
The 1280-seat auditorium is only allowed to be rented out for educational seminars and cultural events that promote literature and the arts.
However, sources say the venue can be rented for functions ranging from weddings to felicitations at the rate of Rs. 2 lakh for 24 hours, and bookings have been made for various events up to September. These now stand cancelled.