Some structures of underground stations found ‘dangerously close' to heritage buildings

A subcommittee of the Heritage Conservation Committee constituted by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has raised concern about the adverse impact the proposed Chennai Metro Rail stations would make on heritage buildings. The subcommittee found some of the structures of the proposed underground Metro stations such as the vents and entrance porches to be `visually intrusive' and ‘dangerously close' to the heritage buildings. “While there is scope to aesthetically merge a few structures with the adjoining heritage buildings, some should be relocated and kept away,” one of the members of the subcommittee remarked.

Recently, designs for underground metro rail stations near High Court, Central Station and Mannadi were reviewed.

In the proposed High Court metro rail station, as the design drawing indicates, one of the vent structures and entrances is located about 2 meters from the Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College, a heritage building which is more than 100 years old. These structures rise about 5 meters above ground and were found to obstruct the view and affect the heritage building. Similarly, in the case of the proposed metro rail station near Central Railway station, vent and entrance structures were found to be visually dominating the Ripon building and Victoria Public Hall.

Another member of the heritage subcommittee pointed out that the station near Mannadi may not seriously impact the Tamil Wesley Church, a heritage structure nearby. However, suggestions to modify other stations have been made to Chennai Metro Rail and their response is awaited, he said. Detailed drawings and studies of visual and urban impact of metro rail stations on heritage areas have also been requested for evaluation.

When contacted, S.Krishnamoorthy, Chief General Manager (Public Relations), Chennai Metro Rail limited (CMRL) told The Hindu that the Heritage Conservation subcommittee has made some suggestions.

“The CMRL is working out the technical drawings based on the suggestions and when the drawings are completed, they will be submitted to the heritage committee for their perusal and approval,” he added.

Two Metro Rail corridors totalling to a length of about 45 km has been proposed at the cost of Rs. 14,000 crore. Work is under way in both the corridors: Washermenpet to Airport and Chennai Central to St. Thomas Mount.

Eleven underground and six elevated stations are to be built on the Washermenpet-Airport Corridor, and eight underground and seven elevated stations are to be built on Chennai Central-St.Thomas Mount Corridor.

The project is expected to be completed by 2015.


A. SrivathsanJune 28, 2012