The 152-year-old CSI Tamil Wesley Church in Broadway developed cracks as a tunnel-boring machine (TBM) of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) drilled between Mannadi and Madras High Court, creating panic and anxiety among churchgoers.
CMRL officials told Express that the incident happened around 2 pm on Saturday when the TBM drilled about 50 metres on the stretch. The floor and the walls developed cracks, following which officials rushed to the spot. “Top CMRL officials held discussions with the church officials and assured them that the building is safe and they could carry on with the Sunday mass,” a CMRL spokesman said.
Madras Diocese Council member R Yesuraj said that the CMRL officials did not inform the church officials before starting the work. “The damage to the heritage site has created fear among the community members,” said Yesuraj.
“During the Sunday mass, a CMRL official will be addressing the gathering. We want them to do a laser check-up and issue a certificate about the strength of the building,” he said.
Yesuraj said that more than 250 families pray in the church, which was established by Methodist missionaries from the United Kingdom in 1861. “We want the damage to be rectified. There should be no further damage,” he said. The stretch between Mannadi to High Court could be the biggest challenge for Chennai Metro as the pocket contains several heritage structures.