THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The efforts by officials to evict the occupants of several commercial buildings from the vicinity of the ancient Padmanabhaswamy temple have gained traction after the fire that broke out in a nearby building. The ancient temple that holds treasure estimated to be around one trillion dollars, poses several security challenges to authorities, especially due to the footfall in the commercial complexes located close to the temple.
“The building owners that face eviction both on East Fort and West Fort include dozens of shops both big and small. They are fighting in the lower courts to avoid being relocated. The district collector has recently started moves to identify and evict illegal encroachers,” said temple executive officer K.N. Satheesh. The Centre for Earth Studies (CESS) had conducted a study on existing tunnels under the temple that could be used to illegally access the temple. However, construction of new tunnels into the temple can be a threat.
“Seismic sensors could not be installed as this would affect the structure of the archaeologically significant temple,” sources said. Meanwhile, fire officials say they have identified innumerable buildings that could trigger a major fire in a 1 km radius of the temple and no action had been taken. “Sunday’s fire outbreak is a classic example of residential spaces being utilised as godowns leading to fires that are difficult to contain,” said Divisional Fire officer Noushad M. The situation that could lead to a massive fire outbreak is still prevalent as the master plan to redevelop East-Fort Chalai could not take off.