Roadblock to acquisition of land for MRTS expansion
The 0.5 hectare land is required to lay a fourth line to ensure seamless connectivity between Chennai Beach and Fort stations.
CHENNAI: The move to acquire land owned by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the mass rapid transit system (MRTS) has hit a roadblock as the state government is considering the possibility of terminating MRTS services at Chennai Fort station or limiting services to Chennai Beach due to the deadlock.
The 0.5-hectare land is required to lay a fourth line to ensure seamless connectivity between Chennai Beach and Fort stations. Without this, MRTS services cannot be extended to Chennai Beach.
“Discussions are ongoing to work out alternative solutions to the land acquisition issue. A decision, on whether to terminate services at Chennai Fort station or to have limited service to Chennai Beach, will be taken in the next five to six months,” said CUMTA special officer I Jayakumar.
MRTS stations Chennai Fort, Park Town and Beach stations are manned by the railway. MRTS control ends at Chintadripet. To merge MRTS with Chennai Metro Rail, a two-stage approach is being followed. In the first stage, CMDA will develop all MRTS stations commercially, while Indian Railways will manage the operation and maintenance. The next stage includes the complete takeover of MRTS.
After a stalemate for nearly four years, the merger of MRTS with Chennai Metro Rail started afresh last year. The merger was put on a backburner in 2018 over differences between the state government and Southern Railway over the acquisition of land for Southern Railway to construct a new line between Beach and Park stations.
In 2018, a final report prepared by the consultant to study the merger of MRTS with Chennai Metro stated that the state government will have to spend Rs 2,800 crore to Rs 3,100 crore to revive the dull and hollow MRTS platforms and provide the ambience of metro stations. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Balaji Railroad Systems carried out the study.