Society

And, the wait continues

Work on the last leg of the MRTS Phase- II extension between Adambakkam and St. Thomas Mount has been stalled for the past three years. Photos: G. Krishnaswamy and M. Karunakaran  

Do you think it is possible to get to St. Thomas Mount from North Chennai in an hour’s time during peak hour? By the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), it could have been.

Sadly, the MRTS line is yet to reach St. Thomas Mount — the extension from Velachery has been delayed for years now.

The parakkum rail (flying train), as the MRTS is fondly known, connects 18 stations from Chennai Beach to Velachery, its 134 services ferrying nearly a lakh passengers.

The first phase from Beach to Chepauk was commissioned in 1995 and extended to Thirumayilai in 1997. It was connected to Velachery only a decade later, in 2007.

In his post on the website of Friends of Chennai (FOC), a social initiative by The Hindu, Kannan Chandrasekaran of Adambakkam says, “We are still waiting for the connectivity to St. Thomas Mount. The project has gone through a lot of trouble in terms of land acquisition and delays for want of funds.”

Work on the last leg of the MRTS Phase- II extension between Adambakkam and St. Thomas Mount has been stalled for the past three years.

Between 2008 and 2011, authorities had completed work on 3.7 km of the 5-km line. On the final stretch, civil work on 800 metres has been completed, and just the last 500 metres remain.

Electrification will be done when civil work on the entire super structure is completed, say Southern Railway officials. However, due to litigation, work on the last leg of MRTS Phase-II extension between Adambakkam and St. Thomas Mount has been stalled for the past three years.

Residents had vehemently opposed a changed alignment on the grounds that it passed through thickly-populated neighbourhoods on ‘patta’ land. The authorities could have used ‘poramboke’ (unassessed waste land), encroached upon by vested interests, they say.

V. Ramarao, director, Traffic and Transportation Forum, says extension of the MRTS line will benefit residents of Nanganallur, Pazhavanthangal, Adambakkam and the rest of the southern suburbs.

“St. Thomas Mount is bound to be the hub for MRTS, Metro Rail and suburban train services. But what is also needed is bus connectivity. Without this, it will be a failure,” he says.

Senior Railway officials say the Madras High Court has settled the case in their favour. “The State government has to acquire land and the beneficiaries will be compensated. The work will be taken up soon, once we get the land,” says an official.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 9:30:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/mrts-in-chennai/article6745795.ece

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