G. Ananthakrishnan

Chennai Metro’s Phase II, which is awaiting sanction from the NDA government in New Delhi, is to be extended up to Poonamallee. This will ease the bottleneck that is choking most of Arcot Road, from Porur to Virugambakkam. Read the government’s announcement reported by The Hindu here.

There is a wider economic benefit to the move, which will approximately cost Rs. 3,850 crore, or about $600 million.

A couple of thousand apartment units already built between Manapakkam and Poonamallee, more coming up. There is bound to be a real estate dividend from the Metro move, with prices likely moving up immediately. Major gated communities already complete or nearly ready include Prestige Bella Vista in Iyyappanthangal, Osean Chlorophyll in Porur, Prince Highlands, Sterling Ganges, Appasamy Platina, and previous developments such as Southern Shelters, ETA Jasmine Court, Audco Nagar, Jeeva Nagar and so on. Thousands of houses are already built along the arterial Mount – Poonamallee road.

The Metro Phase II should be implemented as quickly as possible, without the long delays that marked the First Phase of Chennai Metro Rail. The Hindu reports that the extension of the corridor "will run from Light House to Poonamallee Bus Depot crisscrossing areas including Ramachandra Nagar, Kattupakkam, Kumananchavadi and terminating at Poonamallee Bus Depot."

This rail link will have a multiplier effect on growth of economy and better services in the entire region. Logically, Chennai Corporation should also extend its reach up to the Metro services area, subsuming poorly performing Town Panchayats like Porur and Mangadu.

At present, Poonamallee is connected by a range of MTC bus routes, touching CMBT, Anna Square, Broadway, T. Nagar and Mandaiveli, besides Avadi to the West and Tambaram to the South. Kumananchavadi is a transit point.

Poonamallee is also a major hub that links places in neighbouring Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, not to mention the industrial enclaves in Sriperumbudur.

A hybrid of Highway and City Road

The Mount-Poonamallee Road is a hybrid, which caters to rising highway traffic from some southern parts of Chennai bound for Bengaluru, Ranipet, Sriperumbudur and so on.

Rising motorisation created a serious bottleneck at Porur junction over the years, which the DMK government tried to remedy with a flyover, but got overtaken by electoral defeat.

The AIADMK government sat on the project for a full five years from 2011, citing land acquisition problems, Metrowater pipeline relocation and so on. Ultimately, it was opened recently.

Yet, mobility options for the region have been limited to buses and share autorickshaws operating without permits.

A Metro line, in the absence of a BRT, will change the dynamics of travel in the entire region, which includes such institutions as the DLF IT Park and Sri Ramachandra Medical College.

The massive Aravind Eye hospital is coming up near the Kumananchavadi junction, while Saveetha Dental College and ACS Medical College are already close by.

One can envisage land acquisition for the Metro in Poonamallee town, which is an ancient, congested area, to be difficult, especially at the Bus Depot point. Giving handsome compensation and alternative land would convince the owners to accommodate the government’s demands without posing legal hurdles.