Gandhi statue on the Marina to be relocated for Metro station

The Gandhi Statue at Marina Beach in Chennai. File photo.

The Gandhi Statue at Marina Beach in Chennai. File photo. | Photo Credit: BIJOY GHOSH

The Gandhi statue on the Marina Beach, a prominent landmark in the city for decades, is likely to be shifted to another location for a few years for the construction of the Light House Metro Rail station under Chennai Metro Rail’s phase II project. The final approval is needed from the Tamil Nadu government before the statue is shifted.

Sources said a few locations were being considered for the bronze statue, which was made in 1959 at a cost of ₹50,000 and unveiled by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. According to  The Hindu archives, the statue was made by Roy Chowdhary, a famous artist, then chairman of Lalithkala Academy.

“At a high-level meeting held on Thursday, this issue was discussed. The statue could be moved a few hundred metres away from its current position and placed opposite the Vivekananda House, or to another location. A final decision is yet to be taken,” a source said.

The Light House station, which is part of the Poonamallee-Light House stretch, will be built underneath the statue. Hence, it has to be relocated to prevent any damage during excavation or tunnelling.

If the final approval is given, an agency will be engaged for shifting the statue. “They will use a framework and move it using a specialised mechanism after a safety inspection. At first, the pedestal will be built in the new location and once it is ready, the statue will be transported,” another source said. The statue will be returned to the Marina Beach, after a couple of years, when the construction is completed.

Construction is progressing well under Chennai Metro’s phase II project being executed at a cost of ₹61,843 crore. In many parts of the city, the construction of underground and elevated structures is under way.

Light House is the only shallow underground station. Its maximum depth will be only 15 metres as against 20 metres or more for the other stations. This is also the only station where the platform will be at the first level and the concourse at the second to ensure tunnelling is not carried too deep to avoid any disturbance to the marine ecosystem. Furthermore, this is the lengthiest station, running to 300 metres. 

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 4:47:19 am |