CHENNAI: Railway stations of MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit System) in the city will soon undergo massive modernization as the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and the Southern Railway (SR) are all set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to hand over the railway stations to the planning authority.
An official source attached to the housing and urban development department said talks were already held between the officials of the CMDA and SR regarding the handing over. “There is also a proposal to hand over the entire operation of the MRTS to Chennai Metrorail Ltd (CMRL). However, it will take some time. Meanwhile, CMDA will take over and upgrade the stations,” the source added.
The planning authority proposed a similar plan in 2007, immediately after completion of construction of MRTS stations to create commercial establishments under air space exploitation project at nine stations from Mandaveli to Velachery. However, the proposal did not see the light.
It may be recalled that the officials from CMDA and SR met regarding the handing over in January this year during which possibilities of harnessing commercial potential were discussed.
Explaining the proposal, the official said all the MRTS stations will be overhauled in line with the Metro stations. “Even though the CMDA would maintain the stations, the southern railway will continue to operate the trains until it hands over the train operation to CMRL. A certain portion of revenue generated from renting the commercial space will be given to the southern railway,” he said.
MRTS covers 19 kilometres and has 18 stations between Chennai Beach and Velachery. All the stations will be modernised under the project. “Cumta (Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority) will coordinate the signing of the MoU as well as the implementation of the project,” he said.
Meanwhile, the southern railway has commenced works to link Velachery MRTS station and St Thomas Mount railway station.