The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) on Saturday started shifting statues on the Ripon Building premises for the project.
The statue of George Frederick Samvel Marqvess of Ripon (Viceroy of India 1880-1884), after whom the building has been named, was the first to be shifted.
The action follows approval from the Heritage Conservation Committee of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), said S.Krishnamoorthy, Chief General Manager (PR), CMRL. The shifting is being done in consultation with the State Archaeological Department, he added.
After shifting the first statue within a week, other statues would be shifted.
The Chennai Corporation council adopted a resolution a few months ago permitting temporary relocation of three statues within the Ripon Building campus.
The civic body had requested the CMRL to leave the statue of Pitty Theagaraya, first president of Madras Corporation, undisturbed. The CMRL is still examining the possibility of completing the work without shifting the statue.
The heritage structures are being shifted to facilitate the construction of an underground station box for the Metro Rail. The ventilator shafts would be positioned along the western boundary of the Ripon Building. Escalators for the station would be located at the south west corner. After the work is completed, the statues would be restored to their original condition.