Palakkad municipality says it cannot be reinstalled on the roadside
Palakkad municipality has denied permission for reinstalling the ‘stolen’ statue of writer O.V. Vijayan at SBI Junction in the town. The statue installed at a 2.7 cent ‘park’ by the municipality had gone missing in 2019, and the municipal councillors led by the then chairperson Prameela Sasidharan had staged an agitation for its reinstallation.
O.V. Vijayan Anusmarana Samithi president and rights activist Boban Mattumantha approached the municipality demanding reinstallation of the statue. However, the municipality denied permission for the statue’s restoration saying that it could not be reinstalled on the roadside.
Mr. Mattumantha alleged that he suspected some vested interests among the municipal officials in denying permission. Although the government circular says that statues cannot be installed on public walkways and roadsides, the 2.7 cents of enclosed land in which O.V. Vijayan’s statue stood till 2019 was earmarked as a park.
It was in 2011 that three statues were installed at three different points in Palakkad town as part of a beautification scheme. When the statue of Naranath Bhranthan was installed at Mission School Junction, the statue of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar was installed at Mercy College Junction, and that of O.V. Vijayan at KSRTC Junction.
However, O.V. Vijayan’s statue disappeared in 2014 when the KSRTC Link Road was widened.
When people raised protests, the municipality gave permission for installation of the Vijayan statue at SBI Junction in 2016.
In 2019, the statue disappeared again, leading to a series of controversies and court cases. The municipality then asserted that the land belonged to it, and that the statue should be reinstalled there.
However, none in the municipality now wants to reinstall O.V. Vijayan’s statue at the junction.
When the authorities say that the current law does not permit them to reinstall the statue, Mr. Mattumantha says that technically there was no impediment for restoration of the statue.
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