K. T. Sangameswaran and T. Ramakrishnan

Preliminary steps to build Assembly complex on the premises

CHENNAI: The State Public Works Department has issued notices to the Legislative Assembly and the Police Department which occupy the old MLAs’ quarters and hostel and the Government House to vacate the premises before November 15.

The PWD has meanwhile short-listed seven firms of architects for the selection of design for the proposed Assembly complex on the premises.

Except Rajaji Hall, Kalaivanar Arangam and the Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission office buildings and the newly-built MLAs’ quarters, all other buildings on the Government Estate that abuts the arterial Anna Salai are likely to be demolished. The demolition of the old MLAs’ quarters would be taken up immediately, according to a senior official.

A school run by a voluntary organisation will move to the site now occupied by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and used as a vehicle shed.

The school students belong to economically-weaker sections of society in and around the Estate.

The seven firms have to submit their design proposals in the form of physical models before October 10.

The selected firm will be required to draft the bid documents and detail the civil works and structural engineering.

After this, the executing agency will be selected. The entire process is likely to be completed by March 2008, the official says.

Special units

Popularly called the Admiralty Building, the Government House is now occupied by the police’s special units such as the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department (CB CID), the Crime and the Economic Offences Wing and the Narcotics Intelligence Bureau CID.

The Police Department’s different units have been accommodated in the building for want of space in the existing police headquarters on Beach Road.

Renovated in the mid-1990s, Government House served as the headquarters of the Police Department briefly. The building, with spacious rooms, stands out in the sprawling site as testimony to the rich architecture of the past.

S. Muthiah, the historian of Chennai, has written in The Hindu that the Government House was the “home of successive Governors of Madras from the time of Thomas Saunders in 1752 till Independence when the Governor moved to Raj Bhavan, which till then had been the weekend gubernatorial retreat.” The East India Company purchased the building from Antonia de Madeiros in 1753.

It was considerably expanded in the last years of the 18th century by Lord Edward Clive.

More In: Today's Paper