State Government gives nod for new building

CHENNAI, MARCH 11. As postal authorities are scrutinising bid documents for construction of a new building for the General Post Office here, the State Government has given its approval for making additions and alterations to the proposed building.

The new building will have three floors, apart from the ground floor. It is to come up on the portion of the GPO premises which was burnt in October 2000. "There is enough clearance for the new structure," says Vatsala Raghu, Chief Postmaster-General of Tamil Nadu Circle.

In February 2003, the Government permitted the Postal department to construct the new building, relaxing the Development Control Rules on various parameters such as set back space, floor space index and open space reservation requirements. Originally there was no provision for three elevators, but Postal department officials approached the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) for permission to instal the elevators. On receiving a proposal of the CMDA on the additions and alterations, the Government issued an order a week ago.

Before the order was issued, the multi-storeyed building panel met last month and stipulated that the postal authorities adhere to conditions laid down by agencies including the Chennai Corporation, traffic police and the Fire and Rescue Services.

Finalisation of bids

Ms. Raghu says the finalisation of the bids will be done shortly and senior officials from the Postal Directorate, New Delhi, have come to the city for the purpose.

"There will be no demolition of any portion of the old GPO building and the new structure will merge with the old. We will employ the services of conservation specialists in strengthening the existing portions without disturbing their original character," she says.

The fa�ade of the front and back portions of the old GPO building will be retained.

Recently, the authorities cleared the debris of the burnt portion of the building to enable the commencement of the construction work.

The Communications Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, unveiled a plaque on Sunday morning to formally launch the restoration work and the construction of a four-storeyed new building. Estimated to cost about Rs. 3.5 crores, the project is expected to be completed in two years.