Illegal religious structure issued advisory to move by Jan 18

Officers of Singapore Land Authority (SLA) have issued an advisory for the relocation of the Sri Thandavaalam Muneeswaran Alayam shrine located on a state land, with the time given for relocation up until January 18.

Officers of Singapore Land Authority (SLA) have issued an advisory for the relocation of the Sri Thandavaalam Muneeswaran Alayam shrine. Photo courtesy: Going Places

The religious structure located at the intersection of Queensway and Portsdown Avenue sits on state land that is not zoned for religious use. The shrine must move as the land is also part of the Rail Corridor, which is to be redeveloped in the future.

According to the advisory, there are also public health and safety issues.

A SLA spokesperson said: “The shrine made no efforts to relocate despite having several years to do so. As there are no further alternatives, SLA issued an encroachment advisory to the shrine’s representatives. SLA will continue to provide whatever assistance we can to the shrine.”

The SLA said it has held several engagements on relocation with representatives of the shrine since 2011. The statutory board roped in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) and the Hindu Advisory Board. With the help of the HEB, one of the Hindu temples offered to house the shrine’s deity, but this was rejected by representatives who cited a difference in the observation of rituals.

The Sri Thandavaalam Muneeswaran Alayam shrine was erected in the 1990s by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) railway workers who used to live at the quarters situated at 451A Queensway. After the land was signed over to the Singapore Government on July 1, 2011, the shrine — occupying 30 sqm — continued to operate.

On Dec 5, the representatives of the shrine submitted a petition signed by 800 individuals to the SLA and Member of Parliament (MP) for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Rajah, appealing for the shrine to be allowed to remain at the current site. They sought Indranee’s help as she is the Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law.Indranee Rajah, appealing for the shrine to be allowed to remain at the current site. They sought Indranee’s help as she is the Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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