Bids received for the project are under scrutiny and will be finalised soon

The project to convert one block of the abandoned Assembly-Secretariat complex at the Omandurar Government Estate on Anna Salai into a multi-super specialty hospital is awaiting environment clearance.

The Buildings wing of the Public Works Department (PWD) recently submitted a detailed project report to the nine-member State Expert Appraisal Committee — which comes under Tamil Nadu State Environment Impact Assessment Authority — for approval.

Once environment clearance is given, the work to convert Block A of the complex into a 400-bed hospital will start. Structural alterations have to be made in the seven-storey block. Apart from providing ramps and proper lighting, the rooms have to be remodelled for use as operation theatres. Oxygen circuit lines will also have to be provided, sources in the department said.

An option to convert the Assembly hall into a conference hall is under consideration. Bids received for the civil and electrical work worth Rs. 26.92 crore are under scrutiny and will be finalised in a few days.

The department is also awaiting environment clearance for Block B of the complex that will house the proposed medical college. It has also obtained a ‘no objection' certificate from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority.

Besides outpatient wards, general and special wards for inpatients, Block A is likely to have diagnostic laboratories and dedicated space for operation theatres.

At present, Chennai Metro Rail Limited is using a portion of the land to construct an underground station on Anna Salai. This will, however, not be a hindrance in executing the project to convert the complex into a hospital. CMRL will vacate the space in eight months, sources said.

The Madras High Court had stayed Tamil Nadu government's proposal to carry out structural alterations to establish a hospital-cum-medical college in the building, asking it to get environmental clearance first.

The massive building, inaugurated in March 2010 as the new Assembly complex of the State government, was abandoned in May 2011, when Jayalalithaa returned to power and shifted the seat of government back to Fort St. George. In August that year, the AIADMK government announced that the DMK-built complex would be turned into a super-specialty hospital.

With its dome that can be spotted even from a distance, the complex has four circular buildings. The dome resembles the top of Valluvar Kottam. The public plaza facing Wallajah Road was proposed to be developed into a tourist spot.

The building also received a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification from the Indian Green Building Council two years ago for adhering green buildings guidelines that seek to use resources efficiently.

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