The Ripon Buildings is gradually being choked by Metro Rail construction work even without a proper government order or a resolution by the Corporation Council.
In addition to the 4507 sq. m. of the 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, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has added more area to the construction site on the premises of Ripon Buildings. The recent conspicuous additions have been made after Pongal and work is under way.
The initial construction site has been found expanded by 1.5 metre towards the heritage structure. However, the government has not issued any new order after the G.O. that permitted use of 4507 sq. m. in 2010. The existing area of the construction site after Pongal exceeds the area permitted by the Corporation Council earlier. No new resolution has been passed by the Corporation Council either.
A senior official of CMRL said they have not demanded additional land from the Ripon Buildings premises so far. The CMRL, however, is planning to seek more land from the Chennai Corporation for the work as there is a “rearrangement of earlier planned structures” as per the new “design requirement.”
A senior official of the Chennai Corporation said the CMRL is yet to submit any proposal in this regard. But any revised proposal by the CMRL for additional land may only be towards the goal of preserving the heritage value of the 100-year-old structure, he added. Some structures such as ducts that spoil the façade of Ripon Buildings may have to be shifted to the other side of the structure, the official said.
A CMRL official said that additional land on the heritage premises of Victoria Public Hall was also required for traffic diversion purposes. The proposal for additional land will be made next week, he said.
The heritage conservation committee is likely to clear the proposal shortly. CMRL, however, is yet to make a decision of the total additional area required on the premises of Ripon Buildings.
Chennai Metro Rail Limited began digging work on the lawns of Ripon Building on May 4, 2011 to facilitate the construction of an underground Chennai Central Metro Station. The CMRL had assured the Corporation Council earlier that after the construction of the Central metro station box, the premises belonging to the Corporation would be restored to its original condition.
The Central metro station would be constructed between Buckingham Canal and Raja Muthiah Road and would be integrated with Central Railway Station, Park Suburban Station, Moore Market Suburban Station and Park MRTS Station.