KUALA LUMPUR: The Batu Caves temple committee says it has notified the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) on its plans to renovate portions of the religious and tourist site.
It confirmed that it was making extensions to the temple at the bottom of the limestone hill and landscaping work on the hillside, although it denied any plan for an artificial waterfall.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple committee secretary Sethu Kumarasamy said the committee planned to meet with the council to explain the works, claiming that it had sent notification letters as early as March 2016.
MPS has issued a notice to the committee, saying it had not obtained any permits or development orders to carry out any form of construction works at the caves.
Sethu said the work would not affect the overall structure of Batu Caves, saying that these were mainly to prevent rainwater from seeping through the temple roofs and to add decorations.
“We are doing this for our consecration ceremony. We have to do it every 12 years. We sent a letter to the MPS.
“All the buildings surrounding the caves will remain at the same place. The only work is on the roof of the temple at the base of the hill, which is being extended because whenever there is heavy rain, water flows inside,” Sethu said.
He said the council had already slapped the committee with a compound for the works and said they were trying to schedule a meeting to explain the renovations they would be carrying out.
However, construction will continue despite protests from the council and environmentalists, said Sethu.
“We have a very short period to get this done before Thaipusam. We have to finish all the major works before that,” he said.
The temple committee and MPS have had a history of squabbles over the planning in and around the popular tourist site.
In 2011, the committee signed an agreement to build a RM10mil cable car facility but the project was halted by the council when it found structures that were built in the area had not obtained planning approval.
Despite support and funding from the Federal Government, the MPS had also put the brakes on several other temple committee projects like the Indian Cultural Centre.
Meanwhile, other proposed projects in the vicinity of the temple that failed to get off the ground were public amenities near the riverside where religious ceremonies are normally held and the fourth staircase.
In 2012, the Selangor government instructed MPS to issue a stop-work order for two 29-storey condominiums situated adjacent to the temple.