Today's Paper

Prison land for metro rail project

A. Subramani

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Government has decided to allot the 13.238-acre Central Prison premises near Park Railway Station for the Chennai metro rail project.

In 2006, the prison was shifted to a modern complex at Puzhal.

According to a Government Order, dated October 8, the old Central Prison premises would be handed over to a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is being formed for implementing the metro rail project.

The transfer would improve the financial viability of the rail project, the GO said, adding, “the Government has decided that the optimal manner of developing the land could be decided after doing a proper feasibility study, which may be carried out by the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services (TNUIFSL), using well qualified consultants having expertise in real estate development and related fields.”

Though the original extent of the old premises was 14.288 acres, 1.05 acres of land was sold to Southern Railway in 1992 for gauge conversion. The remaining portion will now be transferred to an SPV-company – Chennai Metro Rail Limited – the order read.

Early history

The old prison complex was constructed in 1837. In the early years, it was used to house condemned prisoners, mostly freedom fighters, destined to be deported to the Andamans.

The jail had also housed many top leaders, including V.D. Savarkar, many MISA detenus, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

The campus witnessed a big riot in November 1999, in which 14 persons, including Jailor Jayakumar, were killed. The case is still pending before the IV Additional Sessions Court here.

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