Rajiv Gandhi Salai

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Old Mahabalipuram Road(OMR) or IT Corridor is a major road in suburban Chennai, India, beginning at the Madhya Kailash temple in Adyar in South Chennai and continuing south till Mahabalipuram in Kanchipuram district, ultimately merging with the East Coast Road. This is popularly called as the 'IT Corridor' because this stretch has become home to many IT/ITES companies. This road is State highway-49A.

A view of the Rajiv Gandhi Salai at Thiruvanmiyur junction and the Chennai MRTS

The corridor, an ambitious six-lane project with service lanes and landscaping, is still in the making. The first phase — 20.1 km from Madhya Kailash junction in Adyar to Siruseri — was to have been opened by 2005. Plagued by delays, primarily due to problems in land acquisition, the stretch became operational in 2008. Feasibility studies are being conducted for phase 2 between Siruseri and Mahabalipuram.[1]

The IT Corridor project[edit]

Project Implementation[edit]

The IT Corridor Project, is an initiative of Government of Tamil Nadu to develop the Corridor as a world-class facility and to promote a progressive and IT/ITES friendly image of Tamil Nadu. TNRDC has incorporated a special purpose organization called 'IT Expressway Ltd' (ITEL) as a wholly owned subsidiary, for domiciling the IT Corridor Project. ITEL is an investment vehicle and the TNRDC is its Managing Associate. It is responsible for project implementation and operations and maintenance of the IT Corridor.

Project Phases[edit]

The IT Corridor Project is being implemented in two phases – Phase-I(20 km) between Madhya Kailash Temple Junction and Siruseri, and Phase-II(26 km) between Siruseri and Mahabalipuram. The 2.1 km long ECR Link Road connecting IT Corridor at Sholinganallur and East Coast Road at Kudumiyandithoppu is also included in Phase-I. As part of the Phase-II, two bypasses would be provided in Kelambakkam and Thiruporur.[2] With the commissioning of Phase I, the travel time from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri has been reduced by half an hour.[3]

Project Features[edit]

The entire stretch will be built as 6 lane road with additional service roads and footpaths on the sides. In phase-I, the total right of way is 41 metres and the footpaths will be built over the ducts for sewerage, drainage and other service lines. This space constraint was one of the reason Phase-I works got delayed. TNRDC has proposed to keep the width of the second phase at 60 metres. The additional land is planned for separate space for pavements and ducts to enable the simultaneous development of work for ducts and pavements unlike in Phase-I.[4]

Project Status[edit]

Phase-I[edit]

Though the IT expressway was to have been fully operationalised by March 2005, the road works ran into rough weather and suffered undue delay due to contractual problems and other issues, including shifting of service utility facilities and land acquisition. The actual inauguration of the six-lane main carriageway - and the 2.1 km link road connecting the IT corridor and ECR - happened on 29th Oct 2008.[5] Starting 14th Dec 2008, TNRDC has started collecting toll, for phase–I of Rajiv Gandhi Salai (from Madhya Kailash junction to Siruseri).[6] However (as per official acknowledgement), as of Feb 2009, the phase-I construction work is still not complete in all aspects - including work on service roads, footpaths and drains.[7] As of Apr-2010, Service roads and footpaths along the IT Corridor are available for three km from Madhya Kailash to the SRP Tools junction.[8] There had been no progress on the work on the remaining stretch, including the setting up of busbays, from previous six months (from Nov-2009 till May-2010).

Phase-II[edit]

Acquisition of 156 hectares of land in 13 revenue villages, required for phase-II, is being done by the Kancheepuram district administration and was initially expected to be completed by the end of 2010.[9] However, the project was delayed and, it was only in 2011 that the state government decided to start works on the 25-km stretch from Siruseri to Mahabalipuram which will be taken up under viable financial format through the public private partnership model at a rough cost of INR 5,500 million. The land acquisition exercise costs INR 700 million.[10]

In 2012, the state government sanctioned INR 2,600 million towards land acquisition for the widening of the second phase of the project. The project envisages widening the four-lane stretch with a median to a six-laned one. Phase II covers a 26.8-km stretch, which is under the charge of the State Highways Department, runs from Siruseri to Poonjeri, where it will join the East Coast Road. Two new by-passes have been planned to avoid urbanised areas with several buildings. The road will run through 13 revenue villages and nearly 200 acres of land are required to widen it. One by-pass, running to a length of 4.67 km, will come up in Padur and reach Thaiyyur-B village, by-passing Kelambakkam. Similarly, the other by-pass of 5.75 km will take off in Kalavakkam and join Vengaleri. It will by-pass Thiruporur and Thandalam. Widening the road to six lanes and strengthening it is imperative, as a lot of development is taking place beyond Siruseri, which has a SIPCOT park. A large number of residential complexes and several colleges too have come up to Thiruporur, which also witnesses a high volume of traffic.[11]

Project Cost and RoI[edit]

Protracted delays led to a tripling of costs in the first phase - from Rs 130 crore to more than Rs 400 crore - and have hit the viability of the project. The impact of the cost escalation in the first phase means TNRDC will be unable to recover the project cost from the toll collections. The monthly revenue of Rs 2 crore from over 26,000 vehicles that use this stretch daily is barely enough to the cover the interest costs and operation and maintenance of the road. Return on investment is unlikely.[12]

The initial estimates for the second phase also have almost doubled to approx. Rs. 550[13] crores from the Rs. 280 crores estimated during the earlier feasibility study.

Toll Plazas on OMR[edit]

There are two toll plazas on OMR and three on the roads leading to OMR.

1.Entrance toll plaza at Seevaram(Perungudi).

2.Exit plaza at Egattur.

3.Satellite toll plaza on 200 feet Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram radial road.

4.Satellite toll plaza on Sholinganallur-Medavakkam link road.

5.Satellite toll plaza on Sholinganallut-ECR link road(Kalaignar Karunanidhi Salai)

IT corridor[edit]

Tidel Park and ELNET

The prestigious TIDEL Park is home to a number of BPO and IT/ITES companies. Almost all major IT/ITES companies like Satyam Computer Services, HCL Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services, Bahwan CyberTek Group, Accenture India, TECCI Park, Wipro Technologies, Cognizant Technology Solutions,Scope International, Photon Infotech, Polaris Software Lab, and Infosys are situated along the IT Corridor. Prominent Government Institutes and technical/ educational institutions like Chennai Mathematical Institute are also situated along the Corridor. The corridor stretches from Tidel Park in Tharamani to SIPCOT IT Park in Siruseri. All IT bigwigs like Infosys, TCS, CTS have their own facilities in the IT corridor.

Besides, Small Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT) has developed a Cyber City, spread over 2000 acres (8 km²) in Siruseri, abutting the IT Corridor. A number of IT/ITES Companies are in the process of setting up their facilities in what they call an IT Park.

Housing[edit]

The burgeoning population of information technology professionals is having a logical influence on real estate development, with a slew of residential apartments coming up along the IT Corridor. The total investment in such projects in this area is estimated at a whopping Rs 550 crore.

Tamil Nadu Government's TNHB has created a satellite township at Sholinganallur with IT Parks,arterial roads,schools,parks,play grounds and bus Terminus.The TNHB township of 4000 dwellings is situated next to the upcoming 200 acres (0.81 km2) Rs1000 crore National Maritime university complex.

The last one year has seen activities from leading real estate and construction companies from other states. Some of the builders who are active in this area are Akshaya Pvt Ltd, Hiranandani,[14] Mantri Developers, XS Real,Puravankara Projects, L&T Constructions, DLF Group, Appaswamy Builders, Olympia Group, Radiance Realtors, Vijay Shanthi Builders, Aayush Builders, Naveen Construction, Millennium Foundations, Suryavardhan Estates Private Limited, Jain Housing & Constructions, RAMS Builders, Singapore-based Ascendas, Bangalore-based RMZ, Arihant, Doshi & Doshi, Rajyog and Prince foundations Ltd. Most of the developers are also offering amenities like health clubs, sports facilities, supermarkets etc. in this belt so that the residents don't need to travel to the city for those. Construction of a state-of-the art shopping mall with a hotel and cinema is also in progress. There are currently about 70,000 people employed in the IT and BPO companies along this corridor alone. The impetus for real estate development has come from projections that about an additional one lakh people will be employed in the IT belt in the next one to two years. Property prices have risen 40 to 50 per cent in the whole belt, in the last two years, and an unbelievably 80-100 times in the last 10 years. In 1999, the cost of plot in Thoraipakkam, was INR 15000 which in 2010, sells at INR 10 Lakhs (1 Million). This was also partly due to the inflation in Indian economy.

Panorama of TCS complex in Siruseri IT Park with housing projects nearby
TCS complex in Siruseri IT Park with housing projects nearby

Colleges[edit]

Important colleges along OMR include National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Asian College of Journalism, SSN College of Engineering, St. Joseph's College of Engineering, Sathyabhama Deemed University, Hindustan College of Engineering, Jeppiaar Engineering College, Jeppiaar SRR Engineering College, St. Marys School of Management Studies, MNM Jain College of Engineering, Anand Institute of Higher Technology (AIHT), Thangavelu Engineering College, TJ Institute of Technology, KCG College of Technology, Mohammed Sathak Arts and Science College,Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology. National maritime University, the first in India is currently being built in Shollinganallur, The university complex will also house an Aquarium,National Maritime Museum,Food Courts, Hotel and residential complex. The ministry of shipping is seeking public private partnership to build a five star hotel in the complex.

Statues[edit]

Fire Junction

The Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC) has implemented INR 10-million public art project along the IT corridor meant to stand for "global city", in which murals, statues and installations from artists and art students, including the Flame thrower, a clunky statue of reinforced-cement-concrete by Dashrath Patel, were commissioned.[15]

Transportation[edit]

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai), which runs nearly 400 trips on this stretch daily, plans to augment the service by introducing more air-conditioned buses. Southern Railway is planning to lay a new line to connect Chennai with Pondicherry and Cuddalore. The proposed line will connect Sholinganallur, Kovalam, Tiruporur and Mamallapuram till Cuddalore Fort.[16]

Bus routes[edit]

The Chennai MRTS runs parallel to the corridor for 3km

Chennai's city bus service, the MTC operates buses along OMR. Most MTC buses terminate at or before Sholinganallur, which roughly defines the official city limits. The buses that go beyond Sholinganallur are headed for Kelambakkam. These include 19B (from Saidapet), M5 (from Adyar), and 21H (from Broadway which is near Chennai Central railway station).

State buses and buses going to Pondicherry currently operate via East Coast Road instead of OMR.

Bus stops[edit]

Location map of OMR & Thuraipakkam

There are two routes for the OMR road, one is from Madhya Kailash and the other from Adyar. The SRP Tools bus stop is the junction at which the road from the above two routes meet. The Adyar route is highly congested where it goes through Thiruvanmiyur then on to the SRP Tools bus stop. From Velachery through Vijayanagar there is also a road to the SRP Tools bustop. Important bus stops on OMR (starting from Madhya Kailash):

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

List of tech parks in Chennai

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°58′33″N 80°15′04″E / 12.975897°N 80.251018°E / 12.975897; 80.251018