Ban on Chennai Metro train works? – What is the court going to say!

The second phase of the Chennai Metro Rail project is underway. In this, Chennai Metro Rail has announced the construction of the fourth line from the lighthouse to Poonamallee.

Mylapore Kabaliswarar Temple, Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Vadapalani Vengeeswarar Temple, Vadapalani Alhagar Perumal Temple, Virugambakkam Sundaravaratharaja Perumal Temple, Valasaravakkam Velveeswarar Temple and Poonthamalli Varatharaja Perumal Temple are some of the ancient temple buildings located on this route.

Gauthaman, Ramanan and Vijay Narayanan from Chennai have filed a petition in the Chennai High Court seeking an injunction restraining them from carrying out metro rail project work on the route without completing the environmental impact assessment work on the temples.

The petition states that ‘although three churches, including Santom Church and Rosary Church on the fourth line of the Metro Rail, have been considered for environmental impact assessment, temples older than one hundred years have not been considered for environmental impact assessment.

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The petition also states that during the first phase of the work, mining activities were carried out without affecting the ancient buildings including the Chennai Central Railway Station and the Victoria Stadium.

According to the petition, the temples on Route 4 of the Metro Rail have not been assessed for environmental impact as the list has not been prepared as per the High Court order to prepare a list of temples that are more than one hundred years old and declare them as ancient buildings.

The petition alleges that the construction of a metro station at Poonamallee has affected temple festivities, including the chariot festival, and that the temple lands will be acquired instead of government and private properties for the metro train.

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The petition seeks declaration of all the seven temples, including the Mylapore Kabaliswarar Temple, which will be affected by the Metro Rail Fourth Line, and a ban on Metro Rail Fourth Line works without conducting environmental and social impact assessment activities on these temples.

The case is coming up for hearing tomorrow in a session comprising Justices Swaminathan and Senthilkumar Ramamurthy.