Chennai: After having crossed the legal hurdle, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly diamond jubilee commemorative arch is now all set to come up at stone’s throw from Fort St. George. Construction work on the rectangular structure, a replica of Fort St. George’s façade, has gained pace and is expected to be completed in six months.
“Soon after the legal impediment was cleared, the state government instructed us to expedite the construction works. A private firm has been entrusted with the work on the arch that is coming up close to Napier Bridge and would be completed in a few months,” sources told this paper on Monday.
The shape of the structure will be unique and different from the usual semicircle-type arches. “The arch will be rectangular with a height of 41 feet and 80 metres width. The `1.33 crore structure will be a mix of old and modern architecture, inspired by the frontage of Fort St. George,” the official said.
The legend ‘Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly diamond jubilee commemorative arch’ would be inscribed in English and Tamil, in addition to the words ‘60 years’.
The chief minister laid the foundation stone for the arch on October 30 last year, to commemorate the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Assembly that was constituted in 1952.
An advocate filed a PIL in the high court opposing the move stating that the arch would choke Rajaji Salai that leads to the high court. A division bench dismissed the petition on January 9, 2013. Earlier, it was proposed to construct the arch close to the entrance of Fort St. George, but it is now relocated beyond the prohibitive zone following the objections of archaeologists.
Free stay on anvil for former MLAs
Soon, former members of the TN legislative Assembly can have a pleasant stay at pricey Chennai city without having to spend even a single paisa. For, the state government has decided to construct multi-storied quarters for the ex-MLAs at Omandurar government estate on Anna Salai. The housing and urban development department will soon start construction after the ongoing tussle with the PWD regarding allocation of land.
Sources in the Assembly secretariat told DC on Monday that the quarters would comprise 60 spacious rooms. “The multi-storied structure will comprise 60 dwelling units with fully-furnished facilities. The housing department will take up the construction work, for which the Assembly secretariat recently accorded administrative sanction,” said a source.
However, housing officials alleged that there were problems in acquiring land. “We are facing obstacles in acquiring land from PWD which is not allocating the required 5 acres. They are willing to give only 15 grounds of land,” said an official. Admitting that there was discord over land allocation, PWD officials said they would concede the required space. “We have now decided to give the required land in another place on the same premises,” clarified a PWD source.
Earlier, the former legislators would stay at the six-storied old MLAs hostel on Omandurar estate, which had given way for the new secretariat during the previous DMK regime.
Sensing the inconvenience faced by the visiting ex-MLAs in finding accommodation, the government secretariat has now decided to construct new quarters.