Category: News & Events


Fort St George is where the story of Chennai began in the modern context. DR S SURESH writes about many such forts that have endured over the years in the city.

During the ancient and medieval times, many cities were protected by massive walls of fortifications. Remnants of such structures can be seen in cities such as London and Delhi. In Chennai, the European powers erected several forts.

The biggest and most important fort of Chennai is undoubtedly Fort St George. The establishment of this fort is closely linked to the very birth of our city. In August, 1639, Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, two officials of the English East India Company secured, on lease, the site of the fort from the local ruler Venkatadri Nayak of Poonamalle. On this land, the Company established a trading outpost within a fortified enclosure. The construction of some of the fort walls and the first buildings within this fort was completed by April, 1640 and the Company officials formally inaugurated these buildings on April 23 – St George’s Day – being the death anniversary of St George (275/281- 303 AD), the patron-saint of England. Hence, the fort was named after him.

Fort St George has been the seat of administration right from the time of its inception to this day. It was the scene of historic battles between the English and the French. Gradually, the British acquired many of the neighbouring villages and thus, the trading settlement evolved into a major city.

Barely 20 years after the erection of Fort St George, the Portuguese built a fort around Santhome, mainly to protect themselves against the British. In 1749, the British acquired Santhome and in 1751, they built another fort called the Santhome Redoubt in the area, the old Portuguese fort having collapsed by now. Built for the Mylapore Garrison, the walls of this new fort were over 1m thick and 4m high. The fort was surrounded by a moat around 12m wide. This fort was used at least till the end of the 18th century. Ruins of this fort can still be noticed on the northern side of some of the houses in Leith Castle Street.

In order to protect Chennai from the attacks of the French and the South Indian kingdoms including Mysore, the British built many more forts at places such as Egmore, Purasawalkam and Nungambakkam. Details about the date and precise location of some of these forts are not known. According to archival records, the forts at Santhome and Egmore were larger than those at Nungambakkam and Pursawalkam.

The fort at Egmore, called the Egmore Redoubt, was built in 1715. It was located on a mound behind the present Egmore Railway Station. The British frequently used this fort while fighting against Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, the rulers of Mysore in the late eighteenth century.

Around the year 1770, the British attempted to build a wall around the present George Town area. They levied a tax to finance this construction. The local people opposed this tax. At present, the only reminder of this half-built fort wall is the name Walltax Road given to the road near the Chennai Central Railway Station.

By the early nineteenth century, the British had conquered the French and most of the native South Indian kingdoms. Thus, the use of the forts slowly began to decline. At present, except Fort St George, all the other forts in Chennai are partially or entirely destroyed.


The writer is Tamil Nadu
Convener, INTACH



Courtesy / Source:  Times of India | December 14, 2013

NO MORE TICKETS TO RIDE :: MTC to introduce smartcards

Keep the change: MTC to introduce smartcards

Trial On OMR From March, Regular Users To Benefit

As a first step towards a future without bus conductors, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) will introduce smartcards by March next year. Adyar and OMR will be its trial routes.


The corporation has placed an order for 6,000 electronic ticketing machines (ETMs) that can be used to swipe smartcards as well as dispense tickets. The smartcards can be topped up by a conductor or at a bus depot. “We will also authorise third-party agencies to recharge the cards, like prepaid phone cards,” said a senior official at the secretariat.

Once the entire system is in place, commuters will be able to use their smartcards across all modes of transport — buses, trains and metro rail — without worrying about getting change or buying separate tickets. Authorities will know, in real time, the demands of passengers in different sectors in the city.

The plan is to have passengers tap their cards as they enter the bus, which would not have a conductor. “We will run this as an experiment on OMR as it has the highest number of Volvo buses and passengers on this route are more open to change,” said the official. About 100 ETMs are on trial now.

Those buying monthly passes will be the first to get smartcards. MTC’s system will be compatible with that of the upcoming metro rail. “We are finalising the specifications, and will float the tenders for smartcards soon,” said the MTC official. MTC has about 10,000 conductors on its rolls, and once the system in place they will be used to conduct surprise checks and inspections.

Initially, MTC’s smartcards will be offline and ticketing information will be stored locally on the ETM. “Till CMRL sets up its system, our smartcards will just be validated by ETMs,” said a source.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has been pushing for an elaborate common ticketing system. It will offer smartcards for regular users and tokens for one-time users. “We are working on a system that will accommodate all the players,” said an official. CMRL will be able to monitor their patronage in real time with this system.

Last month, CMRL held a workshop on fare collection. Officials from the state transport authority, MTC, Southern Railway, Centre for Railway Information Systems, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, IRCTC, call taxi operators and representatives of bus ticket booking websites attended it.

Metro rail had proposed a common smart card for electronic fare collection as per international standards. “The challenge is to split the revenue with the department concerned. We are waiting for a response from others,” said the CMRL official.

In Kochi, Private Bus Operators’ Association last month introduced a smartcard system on a pilot basis in 40 buses on the Ernakulam-Kakkanad route. In Bhubaneswar, city bus operator Dream Team Sahara introduced smartcards for commuters on October 10 to deal with the problem of coin scarcity. Several western countries use smartcards that work across different forms of city transport.


  • Electronic ticketing machines | 6,000
  • Smartcards to be issued soon
  • To be used first on OMR
  • Those buying daily, monthly passes to benefit
  • Smartcards will be recharged at depots, by agents
  •  Ticketing information such as time, distance, number of tickets sold will be stored
  • Once metro rail is operational, same card can be used across bus, auto, call taxi, train and even for parking
  • System will go online and authorities can get real-time information on usage
  • Independent body will be set up to collect revenue and split it with different departments

Source: Times of india | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN

Stuck on OMR? Pour out woes on FB

Chennai:When youspend25% of your day stuck in traffic, what do you do? Find an online forum to rant.Closeto 6,000 people are members of the ‘I hate commuting on OMR’ page on Facebook.

Stuck on OMR

“There are so many of us who work at one of the offices on OMR and live far away. Four hours of our life every day is spent on commuting from home to office and back. This is a forum for us to vent our frustration,” readsthedescription.

The biggest complainers are the ones who use private vehicles. “I live in Thoraipakkam and I hate getting out of my house between 6pm and 8pm or 9am and11am!Ittakes me more than one hour to reach Thiruvanmiyur signal!” posted AnirudhJRon the page.

“Vehicles come in the wrong direction, there is no respect for signals, people cross roads at their whim and fancy,” postedDeepakParab.

While users of the page blame pedestrians for the traffic mess, the government is pushing for better public transport as the solution. MTC is improving services in the locality so that more people take the bus, and fewer private vehicles clog the road.

“It is impossible to reduce traffic congestion as long as people use private vehicles,” said ShreyaGadepalli, regional director at Institute of Transportation andDevelopmentPolicy.

Around 1.6 lakh people in the IT and BPO sectors work on OMR. “Another 30,000 support staff make their daily commute. This stretch accounts for 70% of the IT sector in Tamil Nadu,” saidKPurushottam,senior director atNASSCOM.

Officialsfrom theTamilNadu Road Development Corporation, which maintains the road, said they built the road thinking it would be able to support thetrafficfor 20 years.The road wasopenedin October 2008. “In 5years,the roadhas reachedits saturation point. We have no clueon how many moreITcompanies are going to come up,” said an official.

Earlier this year, chief minister J Jayalalithaa announced a 45km elevated corridor between Madhya Kailash and Mammallapuram. “Consultants to study the feasibility of this projectwillbechosen in the next two months,” said a TNRDCofficial.

Source: Times of india | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN

MTC Strikes gold on OMR

Techies Take The Bus As Firms Cut Costs; Shorter Routes On IT Corridor Ups Patronage

IT professionals in the city, quite literally, don’t miss the bus. Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has found that routes it runs on Old Mahabalipuram Road, which is home to a host of IT companies, are among its most profitable.


With several companies looking to cut costs, their dependence on government buses has increased by about 10%, said representatives from National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). “Due to cost cutting, the number of private buses hired by companies has come down from 9,000 to 6,000. This has pushed a lot of people towards MTC,” said K Purushottam, senior director at NASSCOM.

MTC has tweaked services to cater to the growing population on the IT corridor. In May 2012, it introduced three routes tailor-made for IT companies. “We have increased it to seven. We have added 50 buses on the stretch in the past year,” said an MTC official involved in planning.

MTC officials said OMR is one of the top performing sectors in the city with more than 300 buses and 50 routes. MTC is in the process of rationalizing its routes for better services. “Of the 50 routes on the corridor, seven accounted for 70% or 210 buses,” said a source. Some of these routes include T51, C51, A21, 570, and 19B.

There are only three major entry points to OMR — Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur and Madhya Kailash. MTC has realised that shortened routes with more frequent stops are in demand. For example, route 570S makes more money than 570 even though it plies 5.3km less. While route 570 covers CMBT to Kelambakkam via Guindy, Velachery and SRP Tools, 570S stops at Siruseri. “The ridership after Siruseri towards Kelambakkam is low and is not justified. On the way back from Kelambakkam towards the city, people at Siruseri prefer using 570S as there are more seats,” said a source.


Of MTC’s 100 air-conditioned buses, 60 run on OMR. “IT company employees form such a large chunk of the passengers on OMR that when there is a public holiday, MTC calls us to find out how many companies are working and what the expected demand would be,” said Purushottam. “Several companies have also put up bus timings at the entrance to encourage more people to use buses.”

Experts say OMR is ideal to implement the bus rapid transit system. “It shows people are willing to shift to public transport if services are provided,” said Shreya Gadepalli, regional director for Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. However, the quality of these services has to improve. “The buses travel at an average speed of 15kmph now. In BRT they can move up to 25kmph. A 50% increase in speed saves time, and helps the corporation reduce its fleet size by a third,” she said. Recent studies by ITDP show that 7,600 people travel per hour per direction on OMR.

Courtesy / Source: Times of India | Times City | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN

Are the city’s youth interested in visiting heritage sites?

Chennai, with historically rich records dating from the British era, houses many heritage buildings within its metropolitan area. But when was the last time you went to one? No, we are not just referring to Chennai Central Railway Station or the Madras High Court, but places like Government Museum Building, Chepauk Palace and the National Art Gallery. On the occasion of World Heritage Week, we decided to do a perspective check if youngsters go to heritage sites by choice. Madhavan Santhangopalan, a 24-year-old software engineer, says, “I don’t remember the last time I went to a heritage site. My parents took me to the Brihadeewara Temple at Thanjavur when I was 11, but after that, I don’t think I’ve been to any heritage sites.” Ask him if he has been to Mahabalipuram and he excitedly says “Yes, of course”. However, when we probe, he says, “I have been to the beach and the cafes.”

Mahabalipuram, or Mahabs as it is popularly known, is famous for the serene beach, the bustling food joints and delectable food. But this is not all that’s there to the place. Do you know that near the beach are a group of monuments that were built by the Pallava Kings in the 7th and the 8th century?

So, where do youngsters like to go? Says Amreetha Krishnamurthy, a college student, “Whenever my friends and I plan a getaway, heritage sites are not on the list. When we don’t have a lot of time, we go to a mall or some coffee joint. In evenings, we go to nightclubs.”

Kollywood music composer Anirudh echoes that sentiment too. Would the composer — whose favourite holiday destination is New York — go to a heritage site for a holiday? He says, “Honestly, I will not plan to go to heritage sites when I want to chill out. The idea of a holiday is to shop, hangout with friends, relax and come back refreshed. And, our parents didn’t go there either when they were younger!” However, Anirudh also realizes that it’s time the younger generation visits such sites and adds, “Given a chance, I would love to visit the Thanjavur temple.”

However, there are a few like Anusha Venkateswaran, a 25-year-old working professional, who has planned all her trips in the last year around a world heritage site. After tasting a slice of history at Udaipur and Hampi, she’s planning her next trip in February to Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, with her friends during the annual dance festival. “If a place has been accredited as a heritage site by international bodies, then it means there’s got to be something special about it. I find history charming, and these sites give you a glimpse into the past and the way men lived in those generations,” says Anusha.

Dr R Kannan, Principal Secretary in Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department of the state government, states that measures are being taken to promote heritage tourism with the youth. He says, “While there are many packages for school excursions and foreigners, the tourism ministry has also designed special packages like adventure tourism and world heritage site packages for youngsters that are inexpensive as well.”

- Include sound and light shows
- Cheaper packages
- Hold cultural festivals


The shore temple at Mahabalipuram


Source: Chennai Times | Times of India | Isha Sharma
Photo Courtesy: BA Raju

The Marina Lighthouse Is Open For Viewing; And It Will Also Be Part Of A New Weather Warning System


The Marina Lighthouse Is Open For Viewing; And It Will Also Be Part Of A New Weather Warning System
Friday, 15 November, 2013

What can a child get for 5? The paltry sum may not be enough for a square meal, but it can help kids in the city get a panoramic view of Namma Chennai from 46 metres above the ground — atop the lighthouse on the Marina.


While entry on Thursday, when the lighthouse was thrown open to the general public after 22 years, was free, children will henceforth be charged 5 and adults 10.

The lighthouse was closed for visitors in 1991 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. This robbed city residents and tourists the high of experiencing the scenic beauty of the Marina from atop the structure.

Many are happy they have been restored the right to climb up the lighthouse. “This view is a catharsis,” exclaimed Hamsa Nandhini, a 22-year-old software professional who works for an IT major near Tambaram. She had to battle the rush-hour crowd in a suburban train when she left home for the Marina.

“I waited for this moment after I came to know the light house would be thrown open to public. But it was worth the trouble,” she said.

Each of the others, jostling for space atop the tower, had a different view of their first sight from the top. “I’ve been to the Marina a couple of times, but I’ve never observed its pristine and simplistic beauty like this,” beamed Aniruddh, 25, who works in a call centre in Thoraipakkam. “At 46 metres above the ground, you realise how small we really are when seen from the top,” he said.

For the scores of children assembled atop the tower, the primary emotion was unalloyed joy. “I’ll tell my English teacher I went to the lighthouse on the first day!” said Murali V, a class 2 student of a city school. Further down the corridor, starry-eyed boys and girls took turns to peep out of the iron grille. Their jaws broadened, and the smile came back on their faces with a gasp. Some were amazed, many looked surprised. Almost all of them seemed pleased.


SHINING BRIGHT: The lighthouse on Marina Beach was opened to the public after more then two decades. Children thronged the structure on Thursday evening (left); people are allowed to climb the tower in batches of 30

Source / Courtesy: Manish Raj | TNN | Times of India


A Short Film on Chennai Metro Rail Project

The short film describes the ongoing works of Chennai Metro Rail project and the facilities that will be provided during its operations.

More Metro Rail videos please visit:

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Too few small buses in northern suburbs

MTC Blame Poor Roads For Infrequent Services 

Chennai: Last mile connectivity continues to be a distant dream for hundreds of commuters in north Chennai though the state government has introduced small buses in many neighbourhoods in the city. 

Passengers in the northern suburbs of Thiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Tondiarpet, Ambattur and Royapuram complain that only three (Madhavaram-Rettari, Moolakadai-Manali and Ambattur OT-Murugappa Polytechnic) of the 20 routes have serve their localities, while a majority of the small buses run in central and southern Chennai. Share autos make a killing in the north because MTC buses are infrequent. 

“We were expecting mini buses to reduce crowding in regular buses and share autos. Unfortunately, MTC has not allotted adequate routes to the small buses in the northern suburbs,” said M Irulappan, who lives in Thiruvottiyur. He suggested that MTC introduce small buses in Ennore, Minjur, Manali, Mathur, Madhavaram and Kodungaiyur. 

MTC officials said small buses are meant to ply in the interior areas. “But, most interior roads in the northern suburbs are narrow and it is difficult for the small buses to negotiate such roads. Even the condition of the arterial roads is poor in the north compared to the southern suburbs,” said an MTC official. North Chennai comes under MTC’s Tondiarpet region with seven depots, including Madhavaram, Perambur, Ennore and Vyasarpadi. Just 626 regular buses of its 3,600-strong fleet ply here. 

Experts said MTC should not limit the number of small buses in the northern suburbs, and that more should be added in Red Hills, Thiruvottiyur, Pattabiram, Vyasarpadi, Royapuram, Washermanpet and Tondiarpet. “The small buses could be an alternative to share autos, and could reduce overcrowding,” said K P Subramanian, former professor, urban engineering division, Anna University. 

“The northern suburbs are neglected in all aspects. We also pay taxes, but the authorities do not provide us facilities as we are poor,” said K M Babu, a resident of Madhavaram. 

Corporation officials said they have been re-laying damaged interior roads in the northern suburbs under the Chennai Mega City Development Mission.
Passengers are seeking more services to
Thiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Tondiarpet, Ambattur and Royapuram

Courtesy: Times of India | Christin Mathew Philip TNN

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Small Bus in Chennai | Mini Bus in Chennai

Tamilnadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha inaugurated the minibus services on today (Wednesday, October 23, 2013) in Chennai. Initially 50 mini buses were operated on the first phase.

Chief Minister Jayalalitha already announced in the assembly that mini buses would be operated in the areas where the normal buses cannot be operated. Minibus services, named Small Bus, aimed at offering connectivity and feeder services in the suburbs and in localities with narrow roads, where the current Chennai Bus Routes are not able to offer their services. On the first phase 50 mini buses are operated from today (Wednesday, October 23, 2013). A minimum of two and maximum of four mini buses will be operated in these routes. The opening ceremony took place at 11am in Nehru indoor stadium, Chennai. The buses were be flagged off by Chief Minister Jayalalitha after attending the ceremony.


The 50 mini buses will ply in 20 routes. These 50 new mini buses will ply on routes having distance between 6 kms to 10 kms, with a minimum fare of Rs.5. The Chennai Small Bus will have a seating capacity of 27.

The mini bus routes are Pallavaram – Tirusulam Sakthi Nagar, Chromepet – Medavakkam, Chromepet – Madambakkam, Perungulathur – Arungal, Guindy Asargana – Keelkattalai, Guindy – Velachery, SRP Tools – Metukuppam, Ramapuram – Porur, Porur – Pattur, Iyyapanthangal – Kummnanchavadi, Iyyapanthangal – Thiruverkadu, Maduravoyal – Valasaravakkam, Vadapalani – Koyambedu mofussil bus terminus, Vadapalani – Thiru Vi Ka park, Ashok Pillar – Metha Nagar, Ambattur OT – Murugappa Polytechnic, Madhavaram – Retteri Junction and Moolakadai – Manali.

Routes for the mini buses have been finalised, routes are,
1. Ramavaram to Porur.
2. Moolakadai to Manali.
3. Madavaram to Redhills.
4. Guindy to NGO Colony via Kilkattalai.
5. SRP Tools to Mettukuppam.
6. Ashok Pillar to Metha Nagar.
7. Vadapalani to Koyambedu.
8. Pallavaram to Trisulam.
9. Chrompet to Madampakkam via Medavakkam.

The Chennai Minibus Routes which have been announced are listed below :

Route No: S1
From Pallavaram to Tirusulam Sakthi Nagar
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Old Pallavaram, union carbide colony

Route No: S2
From Chromepet to Medavakkam
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: Indira garden, Nehru nagar, kumaran kundram, asthinapuram, tirumalai nagar, jeyendra nagar, sembakkam, kavurivakkam

Route No: S3
From Chromepet to Madambakkam
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: Chilapakkam, mahalakshmi nagar, raja keelpakkam, kozhipannai

Route No: S4
From Chromepet to Medavakkam
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: MIT, Nehru nagar, kumaran kundram, pallavan driving school, Radha nagar, nemilicherry, Nanmangalam, kovilambakkam

Route No: S5
From Perungalathur to Arungal Village (East of Guduvancheri/Urapakkam)
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Oorapakkam, karanai puducherry, karanai kattur

Route No: S11
From Guindy Asarkana to Kilkattalai
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: Burma colony, moovarasan pettai

Route No: S12
From Guindy Asarkana to NGO Colony
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Adambakkam, kakkan pallam

Route No: S13
From Guindy to Velachery
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Maduvangarai, NGO colony, Brindhavan nagar, mahalakshmi nagar inner ring road

Route No: S14
From Taramani SRP Tools to Mettukuppam
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: Taramani (Tharamani), CTS, amdedkar nagar, Kamaraj nagar, telephone nagar, ellai amman kovil

Route No: S21
From Ramapuram to Porur
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Ramapuram arasamaram, poothapedu, china porur, kaarambakkam

Route No: S22
From Porur to Pattur (Near Mangadu)
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Ramachandra hospital,Iyyappanthangal, parani puthur junction

Route No: S23
From Iyyappanthangal to Kumananchavadi
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: SST oil mills, noombal road junction, puliyamedu

Route No: S24
From Iyyappanthangal to Thiruverkadu
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: SRMC, Sathiyalok gurukulam, chettiyar agaram, sivabootha medu, VellapanSavady

Route No: S25
From Maduravoyal to Valasaravakkam
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: AAlapakam Maduravayol junction, menakshi dental college hospital, Government higher secondary school, SS Motors, Arcot road, Allapakkam Junction

Route No: S31
From Vadapalani to C.M.B.T. Koyambedu
Number of Buses: 4
Mini Bus Route Via: Aavichipalli, Virugambakkam, kesavarthini, devi kuppam, ganga nagar, school street, Maduravayol eari karai

Route No: S32
From Vadapalani to Thiru Vi Ka park (Shenoy Nagar)
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Ram theatre, Best hospital, vanniyar street, periyar way, anna main road, arun hotel, Aminjikarai

Route No: S33
From Ashok Pillar to Metha Nagar (Aminjikarai)
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Puthu high school, Samiyar madam, kodambakkam power house, ponmani marriage hall, keelnagar, thiruvalluvarpuram

Route No: S41
From Ambattur OT to Murugappa Polytechnic (Sathyamurthy Nagar, Avadi)
Number of Buses: 2
Mini Bus Route Via: Valluvar road junction, kulakarai road junction, thirumullaivoyil junction, stateboard hospital

Route No: S61
From Madhavaram to Retteri Junction (Kolathur)
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: Kalpana lamp, Birundha garden, prakash garden, kumaran nagar junction, kollathur

Route No: S62
From Moolakadai to Manali
Number of Buses: 3
Mini Bus Route Via: Ambedkar statue, RV Nagar, parvathi nagar, moolachathiram, palgipalayalam, china sekkadu, Manali Market

Each small bus route has about 2 to 4 buses buses, to enable timing of around 1 bus every 10 minutes.

Mini Bus Ticket Fare Charges:
The mini bus routes are having six stages from its starting point to end point. The minimum fare of Rs 5 to maximum fare of Rs 9 will be collected ad ticket charges from the passengers.

Related / Reference Links:

Mini buses ready to roll out in Chennai
Around 40 buses are ready and will be commissioned once Chief Minister Jayalalithaa gives the go ahead. The mini buses will ply on 100 routes. “We have decided on 40 routes for now. More routes will be added in the next phase,” said a transport department official. The buses will be green in colour.

Mini buses on inner Chennai roads from today
While MTC officials refused to talk on the record about the mini bus routes, sources said Nanganallur, Medavakkam and Madipakkam would get the service. So would interior roads of Vadapalani and Saligramam. These growing residential areas have been without last-mile connectivity, and people have been at the mercy of autorickshaws. For residents of Nanganallur, getting to the Guindy bus depot to catch a bus to other parts of the city has been a tough proposition. Similar has been the plight of commuters who live along smaller roads in the newly-added areas of the city.

100 minibuses to ply on 26 city routes
This was disclosed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on urban development, which visited the city on June 9. To a query by the parliamentary panel, the State Government said that it had issued a purchase order for 100 buses. Twenty-five of the mini buses are ready for operation, while 75 more mini buses are expected to be received soon.

Now, ‘small bus’ service in Chennai
At the function, she gave pension benefits to 25 retired transport employees and sanctioned Rs 257 crore of pension benefits to other retired department employees. The State Government plans to set up a second water plant at Gummidipoondi for the Amma Mineral water scheme. Under the scheme, which was launched last September, one litre water bottle is sold at Rs 10 to passengers travelling in long distances buses.

Routes of Mini Buses in Chennai
Chief Minister Jayalalitha already announced in the assembly that mini buses would be operated in the areas where the normal buses cannot be operated.

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One-stop go at Gemini soon
Dedicated Lanes & Simultaneous Movement Of Vehicles On Anna Flyover To Enable Free Flow Of Traffic.

Waiting time under Anna flyover at the Gemini junction may soon reduce with the highways department planning to redirect the flow of traffic, remove the roundabout, and create more lanes. The department sent a cost estimate to the transport secretary for approval on Monday.

More than 20,000 cars use the Anna Salai-Nungambakkam High Road junction at Gemini every hour during peak traffic. The highways department has approved a proposal from a non-governmental organisation Chennai City Connect to change the flow of traffic and replace the ro u n d ab o u t with eight traffic islands.

The plan is to dedicate separate lanes for vehicles taking a right from Cathedral Road towards Thousand Lights on Anna Salai and for those turning right from Nungambakkam High Road onto Anna Salai towards Teynampet. The movement of vehicles in both these directions will be at the same time.

“The traffic density is the highest in these directions,” said Mark Selvaraj, technical director of Landtech Engineers Pvt Ltd, consultants for the project. “This will reduce the pile-up of vehicles at the junction,” he said.

The current six signal phases will be reduced to three. The roundabout will be removed to make space for more lanes. Instead, eight traffic islands will be created and the horse statue will have to be relocated. The traffic islands will segregate vehicles moving in different directions. “They will also act as a refuge for pedestrians trying to cross the road,” said Selvaraj.

Currently, all traffic going from Nungambakkam to Teynampet, Cathedral Road to Thousand Lights and beachbound traffic from G N Chetty Road have to wait at two signals before they can leave the intersection. “Not only do traffic police require more manpower but the signals also make vehicles wait longer,” said Selvaraj.

According to the highways department, the project cost is estimated to be around 90 lakh. “The changes have been welcomed by the traffic police and our engineers. The budget is not a problem and we expect approval from state government soon,” said a senior highway official. “The transport minister did express his concern over the loss of aesthetic value,” he said.

Selvaraj said the changes have been designed on a shortterm basis with quick benefits. “The islands can be beautified according to international standards and the changes can be implemented in three weeks,” he said.


Phase 1 | The right turn | Vehicles taking a right from Nungambakkam High Road to Teynampet and from Cathedral Road to Thousand Lights will move at the same time. By allowing vehicles in these two directions to flow simultaneously, backlog of vehicles is reduced to a great extent

Phase 2 | Straight forward | Vehicles from Nungambakkam High Road to Cathedral Road and vice versa will move simultaneously

Phase 3 | G N Chetty Rd and ahead | Vehicles going from G N Chetty Road to Thousand Lights and Cathedral Road will travel at the same time

Source – Times Of India