Tirupur: Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation on February 10 for the much-hyped Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Multispecialty Hospital in the city, .
According to the revenue department, the project cannot be executed in a piece of land on Thirumuruganpoondi-Pooluvapatti Ring Road purchased for the purpose due to a pending civil suit.
A senior official of the revenue department said, “The district administration had conducted consultation meetings for five times to solve it. Collector K S Palanisamy held talks with the civil suit petitioners, and officials from ESIC and HR&CE department.”
“The issue could not be solved because of the firm stand taken by civil suit petitioners. Since they were firm that they should be given adequate compensation or handed over the land, the collector even requested a group of business fraternity to contribute to provide the compensation,” he added.
A senior ESIC official said, “After the central government wanted to lay foundation to the facility, we recently requested the HR&CE department to provide alternate land instead of the disputed property, but the latter declined it. We hope that the government will solve the issue soon and set up the hospital.”
The project is expected to benefit eight lakh people, including three lakh insured employees and their families. ESIC purchased 7.46 acres from the HR&CE department in 2012 at a cost of around Rs 12 crore for the project. Stating that the property was solely belonged to Chellandiamman Mariamman temple at Chettipalayam near Thirumuruganpoondi, the HR&CE department transferred the ownership to ESIC.
Following this, 24 legal heirs of families led by A Gandhimathi who were appointed as priests of the temple moved the Tirupur sub-court challenging the transfer. They contended that the then Coimbatore combined district deputy collector had issued patta to 15 acres land including the land sold to ESIC in name of the temple and its priest Sinnandi on June 17, 1863. Praying to cancel the registration, they said the HR&CE department had sold the land without their consent.
A senior HR&CE official said: “As per the Tamil Nadu Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1963, the Gobichettipalayam settlement tahsildar vested the property title in name of Chellandiamman Mariamman temple in 1968. Five priests, including V Palani Pandaram, were declared as representatives of the temple. Since the priests could only manage the property and not own it, our department did not fault in selling the land to ESIC. ESIC should have gone ahead with the hospital project but they failed.”
N Arul Jothi, one of the civil suit petitioners, said, “While the then princely state had issued patta to the temple and our ancestor priest Sinnandi, our families have been utilizing the land for cultivation. If we did not have stake in the property, how did a trial court uphold the sale of another 7.52 acres of the land (another half of the property) by my family members.”
“The HR&CE has misguided the ESIC and sold the property. We are not against establishment of the hospital, but we should be given adequate compensation or the land,” he added.
When the civil suit petitioners learned that the PM would lay foundation to ESIC hospital, they filed a fresh injunction petition seeking to restrain the central government from going ahead with the project. The case was taken up for hearing on February 8 and is still pending in the court. The civil suit will come up for next hearing on April 4.