The inauguration of the 18th station on the Beach-Velachery MRTS line is delayed due to a raging debate over its name.

What’s in a name? A lot, if you took into consideration the controversy surrounding the naming of a new Mass Rapid Transit System station. As a board reveals, Mundagakanniamman Koil is the name given to what will be the 18th station, situated between Thirumayilai and Light House stations, on the Chennai Beach to Velachery MRTS line.

But the matter is far from settled. With a section of the residents in the area unhappy over the name, the station’s inauguration has been delayed. This group contends that the station comes under the Madhavapuram limits of Mylapore, and therefore has to be named Madhavaperumal Koil Station. “One resident has gone to the court over this issue,” said M. Ramesh, a resident.

The campaign to retain the assigned name is equally strong. This group argues that this temple is the second oldest in the area and the station is located on Mundagakanniamman Koil Street.

With the dispute continuing, a lot of alternative names are being suggested. Residents have shot letters to the State government, Southern Railway and the District Collector with names such as Valluvar Vattam and Sree Madhavaperumal Seva Samiti, Valluvar Statue Station (as there is a bus stop in the name of Tamil poet nearby) and Santhome (the church being a landmark).

The station has been courting controversy ever-since it was first slated to be completed in 2009. The construction cost has run to Rs.10 crore.

Though only a kilometre away from Light House and Thirumayilai stations, it promises to be of help to thousands of commuters.

“The station will benefit commuters from Santhome and Royapettah. It is a boon to over 5,000 people living in Mylapore North,” said R.J. Sundravadivel, a trader. Currently, the MRTS caters to over 80,000 commuters and 134 services ply on the stretch every day.

“It takes me around 15 minutes to go to Thirumayilai Station from my house. If this station is opened, it will take just five. The name doesn’t count at all,” said S. Harini, a resident of V.M. Street.

A Railway spokesperson said the Southern Railway’s has written a letter to the Government about the name issue. “The final decision will be taken by it,” he added.

(With inputs from Liffy Thomas)

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