New cracks appear in Ripon Buildings

The structure of the heritage building, headquarters of the Greater Chennai Corporation, is said to be safe; officials say the cracks were minor and required only cosmetic repairs; civic body waiting for report from CMRL that underground work had been completed

Updated - August 26, 2023 12:42 pm IST

Published - August 26, 2023 12:50 am IST - CHENNAI

Cracks seen on one of the walls of the iconic Ripon Buildings

Cracks seen on one of the walls of the iconic Ripon Buildings | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Two years after Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) completed its work and handed over the premises back to the Greater Chennai Corporation, the iconic Ripon Buildings has developed new cracks, particularly in the facade.

While the CMRL officials say these cracks were not caused by their project, the Corporation officials say these are minor and there is no problem to the structural stability of the heritage structure as Metro Rail work was completed. “It is not a deep cut. The crack is not a structuralone. It needs only cosmeticwork. We are waiting for a report from CMRL stating that there will not be any more underground work to take up repair,” said a civic official.

In 2010, the State government earmarked 4,507 sq. m of land in close proximity to Ripon Buildings for the Central Metro Station. After officials pointed to the presence of hard, igneous rocks just 16 metres below the Ripon Buildings lawn, the work was delayed, machines broke down and cracks started appearing in Ripon Buildings. Even then the CMRL insisted that the work did not have any impact on the heritage building. 

After the completion of the Metro work, restoration of Ripon Buildings was taken up, and the lawn was handed over to GCC in 2019. But the cracks continue to appear on the facade of the building.

Meanwhile, the CMRL has removed the testing systemfor collection of data about the structural condition of thebuilding.

Councillors had demanded a report about the structural stability of Ripon Buildings from CMRL which, however, did not share such information with the Corporation Council. “Nobody knows the cause of the cracks in Ripon Buildings and Victoria Public Hall,” said an engineer of the Corporation.

AIADMK Councillor J. John said the government should study the reason for the cracks and ensure safety of the occupants and visitors.

Corporation Commissioner J. Radhakrishnan said the restoration of the heritage building was a continuous process and the Corporation has been taking all efforts to rectify defects.

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