Executive officers, with little training in conservation, have tended to desecrate existing structures in the name of renovation and re-sanctification (kumbhabhisekam). K.T. Narasimhan, superintending archaeologist at the asi’s regional office in Chennai, has been keen on salvaging important temples, like the one at Thiruvannamalai, from such abuse. The asi argues the temple was "desecrated by rampant and illegal construction at its base, between the path of the hill and the hill itself". On October 21, it issued a notification under Section 4(1) of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, seeking to take over the 1,000-year-old Chola shrine so as to preserve it as a ‘national monument’.
But the HR&CE department has petitioned the Madras High Court and contended that the day-to-day affairs of the temple would be affected, that it would be reduced to a tourist attraction.