Four affected parties obtain court stay on government’s move to hand over land to CMRL

A row of shops near Chennai Central railway station and Ripon Buildings were sealed on Saturday, to make way for the metro station coming up on the stretch. Shutters were downed and notices reading ‘This land belongs to CMRL’ were pasted on them.

However, four affected parties approached the Madras High Court, which granted an interim stay till July 24 of the operation of a G.O. relating to alienation of the piece of land near the Central Railway station for the Metro Rail project.

According to Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), the state government had allotted a portion of land near Central station for metro work. “The collectorate will acquire the land and hand it over to us. They sealed a row of shops on Saturday and removed encroachments,” said S. Krishnamoorthy, chief general manager (public relations), CMRL.

The petitioners submitted that the pucca buildings were in occupation and the lease of the buildings had been renewed up to 2027. In these circumstances, if the buildings were demolished, irreparable loss and damage would be caused.

The counsel also said no notice was issued to the petitioners. The Judge said that taking into consideration the petitioners’ submissions and the objections of Advocate-General A. Navaneethakrishnan, there would be an order of interim stay of the impugned G.O. and the consequential orders and interim injunction till July 24. The court directed the counsel to implead the CMRL as a party respondent before July 24.

Abdul Rahiman Koya, managing partner of Hotel Central Tower and Hotel Howrah, who said he was among the four petitioners to have obtained the stay order, alleged that police hit him and others when they resisted the sealing operation. “We told them we were expecting a stay order very soon but they attacked us,” he said.

According to him, after it was ascertained that the High Court had granted an interim stay, the four hotels — two run by Mr. Koya and two outlets of Buhari Hotel — were spared the sealing.

Senior officials at the Collectorate, who carried out the sealing operation, were not available for comment on the development.

According to them, the Chennai Corporation had been roped in to facilitate the closure of nearly 20 shops and eateries, and clearance of encroachments near the entrance to Park Station.

The metro station at Chennai Central is among the underground stations coming up along corridor-I of the Chennai airport-Washermanpet stretch. Corridor-II will intersect with Corridor I at Central Station, through the line from Egmore.

The Chennai Central underground metro station, being constructed at a depth of 25 metres, will be among the largest metro stations. Its proximity to the MRTS and EMU service lines, as well as Chennai Central railway station is likely to make the upcoming metro station a busy transit point, facilitating easier access to public transport.

LIC building crack

Meanwhile, CMRL sources said inspection of the crack on LIC building would be carried out only after independent assessors certified it would be safe to erect the floating bridge.

V. Somasundaram, chief general manager (constructions), CMRL, said construction work at LIC metro station site was suspended temporarily to facilitate inspection of the crack.

“A floating bridge (used for painting high-rises) has been brought to the site. However, we need to ensure there is no safety violation in erecting the bridge for inspecting the crack. It might take a few more days,” he told The Hindu. The LIC metro station, too, is part of the underground stretch from Saidapet to Washermenpet.

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