A layer of rock beneath the Ripon Buildings lawns has emerged a stumbling block to taking over of additional land on the premises, by the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

Two months after CMRL sought additional land from the Chennai Corporation, officials are “still unsure” of the time of taking over additional area that is needed on the premises of Ripon Buildings.

Corporation sources said the CMRL had postponed the plan to take additional area as the machines were taking more time to cut the hard rocks. There have been reports of frequent breakdown of machines due to the “very hard, grade-four igneous rock 16 metre below Ripon Buildings.”

“It takes time. There is lot of wear and tear. But we have to go up to 33 metre below the ground,” said an official of CMRL.

The unusual, unexpected hard rock formation beneath Ripon Buildings has been cited as a reason for “extra time requirement in completing the work in the Ripon Buildings neighbourhood.”

The CMRL will request the Chennai Corporation for additional land only after the existing work involving cutting of rocks is completed. Around 70 entrance/exit diaphragm wall panels, 63 main station box diaphragm wall panels and six plunge columns have been completed at the Central Metro station so far.

The additional land on the premises of Ripon Buildings is likely to be taken over only after six months, officials said.

In addition to the 4,507 sq. m. of land permitted to be used on Ripon Buildings premises by the G.O. issued in 2010 by the State government and the resolution passed by the Corporation Council, CMRL may have to take more land for the crucial infrastructure project.

The CMRL is planning to seek more land from the Chennai Corporation for the work as there is a need for rearrangement of earlier planned structures under the new design requirement.

CMRL has not yet shared the sketch pertaining to its requirement of additional area on the premises with the Chennai Corporation.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited began digging work on the lawns of Ripon Building on May 4, 2011.

The CMRL had assured the Corporation Council earlier that the premises would be restored to its original condition after the Central Metro station is constructed between Buckingham Canal and Raja Muthiah Road.

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