UDHAGAMANDALAM: The Madras high court on July 25 ordered the district administration to reclaim 1.6 acres of the 55-acre race course in the town from the Madras Race Club (MRC).
The MRC owes about Rs 642 crore to the state government as lease amount due. Taking into consideration the need for a parking lot – a long pending demand – in the town, the district administration sent a proposal of takeover of four acres from the tail portion of the Ooty race course.
Last February, the revenue officials conducted a survey at the race course and earmarked the area just opposite to ATC bus stand for the parking lot. Meanwhile, the MRC approached the Madras high court challenging the proposal. However, in an order on June 27, the court allowed the district administration to reclaim the four acres. But, the MRC went for an appeal citing that the surveyed slice of land includes a portion of sand track as well as main track.
When the appeal came up for hearing on July 25, the court directed the district administration to reclaim the surveyed 1.65 acres. Nilgiris collector J Innocent Divya told TOI: "We are waiting for the copy of the order from the court to proceed further." CEO of MRC T Raman said, "Yes. The court has directed to hand over 1.65 acres of land of Ooty race course to the district administration. But the case is not yet over. A hearing is posted for next week." Activists are up in arms against the stand taken by the MRC on handing over the land. They demand that it is high time the government take back the whole land from the MRC as the whole area - marshy land - is ecologically very important to the hill town.