Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 22, March 1-15, 2019
With the Metrorail’s first phase now fully operational across the city, the organisation in charge, Chennai Metrorail Limited (CMRL), has begun planning on the second phase. Spanning over 119 km across three corridors, this project is expected to go for tendering by June this year. Soil testing is now ongoing in various parts of the city. The enthusiasm for the project is palpable, what with the first phase having shown how it can benefit the public. This is also time to ponder over how this phase can be handled in a more efficient manner than the first.
The initial phase of the Metro, to cover 45 km, faced considerable delays. Work began in 2011 and was slated for completion in 2015 but it is only this year that the network became operational. The cost, estimated at Rs. 14,600 crore ballooned to Rs. 19,000 crore. The second phase is more than double the first in terms of area coverage and is estimated to cost Rs. 69,000 crore. Spanning three corridors – Madhavaram to Sholinganallur, Madhavaram to Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT – Koyambedu), and Lighthouse to Meenakshi College, it will soon see work commencing on the first 52 km which will involve the first two corridors.
A loan agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is already in place and CMRL also has in-principle approval from Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and other institutions. It is believed that with these agreements in place, CMRL will not have to wait for the Centre to release funds for Phase II.
The Adyar Poonga.
For despondency over lethargic progress of improvements to Chennai, a visit to the Adyar Poonga could be an antidote. Adyar Poonga is the beautiful term that stands for the project to rehabilitate and restore the Adyar Creek, the primary and vibrant estuarine system of our City.
Popular memory today associates present-day George Town with Black Town, and rightfully so. It was following an appeal in 1911 from the residents of Muthialpet and Peddanaikenpet, the two halves that made up the then Black Town, that the area was renamed George Town, after the new King Emperor. But this was in a sense new Black Town, recognised as such in the 1750s. Old Black Town, which existed to the immediate north of Fort St. George, is today a mere memory and a very inchoate one at that.
It happened in 1769 during Warren Hastings’ second voyage to Madras to serve the English East India Company’s Council. Aboard The Duke of Grafton on which Hastings was sailing there was a young couple, the Baron and Baroness Karl von Imhoff. The Baron, who was a portrait painter of sorts, was travelling with his strikingly attractive 22-year-old wife, Maria Chapuset, a woman of wit and intelligence. The combination was just what was necessary to appeal to the retiring widower Hastings.