Some of the residents of Thapalpetti are planning to stage a protest on Saturday, opposing the proposed change of alignment in Chennai Metro Rail’s upcoming phase II project.
This project will have three corridors — Madhavaram to SIPCOT (corridor 3), Light House to Poonamallee (corridor 4) and Madhavaram to Shollinganallur (corridor 5). Of these, in corridor 3, the Chennai Metro Rail has been planning to remove the Thapalpetti station that falls between the Madhavaram Milk Colony and Murari Hospital.
Residents say it is unfair that at the time of project execution, Chennai Metro Rail had decided to drop the station, which will deny them access to the mass rapid transit system. T.R. Suresh Kumar, who has been a resident of Thapalpetti for over four decades, said: “There are many residents who currently use the Chennai Metro Rail system, who travel to Anna Nagar or Kilpauk by road and then take the Metro Rail system to various areas. In the future, the demand for this system will only increase. There are thousands of people living in and around this neighbourhood and will need access to public transport. In fact, there may be more users in Thapalpetti than Madhavaram Milk Colony. They must restore the old plan and retain this station,” he said.
Arul Dhas, a long-time resident, said, instead of taking the tunnel through the main road, the new plan proposes to take the alignment through residential localities such as Kannapuram, KKR Gardens and Palaniappa Nagar. “This tunnelling work, if it passes underneath our residences, may cause damage. While they promise they will repair it, we are not prepared for it. After all, we built our houses with loans and with great difficulty,” he added.
Officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said they have been planning this change for optimisation of the original alignment. “As per our estimate, the ridership in Thapalpetti station may be low. The distance between Madhavaram Milk Colony and Thapalpetti stations is also not much and hence we have been thinking of dropping this station. These issues are still under discussion,” an official said.