CHENNAI: With the Revenue officials beginning the land acquisition process for the Metro rail project, there is every reason for the residents of North Chennai to heave a sigh of relief as the possibility of Metro rail connectivity becoming a reality has gone up. But not for the students and officials of Sir Theagaraya College, who fear that the project would wipe out three of the five acres of land, the college is situated on.
The government-aided college, one of the very few colleges in the northern parts of Chennai, has about 1,600 student in its rolls.
A notice too has been pasted on the campus by the Revenue Department stating that 1.12 lakh square feet of land from the college’s premises would be acquired for the Metro Rail’s extension that connects Washermenpet with Tiruvotiyur.
This led to a brief stir by the students, who demanded that the notice be withdrawn.College principal Dr G Ravinchandra Babu said, “Our college is built on five acres of land. If they take away three acres of land then what will remain of the college.”
He further said, “At the most, an underground station would require an area of five to seven grounds. But we don’t understand why the officials would want to acquire three acres of land.”
College authorities said that if the land was acquired, the institution would lose portions of the buildings in which the Commerce, Zoology, Physics and Computer science departments are located. They alleged the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) was planning to store construction materials on the vast tract of land.
College authorities have held talks with the District Revenue Officer (DRO) in this regard. However, they did not rule out the possibility of moving the court if the land acquisition process continued.
“We have registered our protest, but if they continue with the acquisition, then we would have to approach the court,” said Babu.
Official sources said that the land owners would be compensated under the new Land Acquisition Act or through transferable development rights. When contacted by Express, a senior Revenue official said he would look into the matter.