Tamil Nadu Assembly bids goodbye to Fort St George, to move into new complex
Ending its over five decades long association with the historic Fort St George here, the Tamil Nadu Assembly will be holding its next sitting at the new complex in the Government Estates in the heart of the city that is expected to be partly ready by March.
The Assembly had a brief five-day session in Fort St George that ended on Jan 11 with Chief Minister M Karunanidhi,who has continuously been a member since 1957, getting nostalgic about the long association with the historic complex while bidding adieu to it.
Since the fort belongs to the army and the Assembly and the State Secretariat could not expand beyond a point because of space constraints, successive governments had been looking at alternative sites. The previous Jayalalitha Government dropped proposal to move into Queen Mary's College and then into Anna University in the face of fierce opposition. She also dropped proposal to shift the entire Assembly and Secretariat complex to a satellite city.
The present Karunanidhi Government chose the GOvernment Estate, renamed after erstwhile Chief Minister Omandur Ramasamy Reddiar, as the venue for the complex to be raised at a cost of Rs 425 crore.
On the last day of the last session at Fort St George, Mr Karunanidhi told members that they would meet in Government Estate in the coming budget session in March.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to declare open the Assembly complex building on the Omandurar Government Estate on March 13.
The Assembly-Secretariat complex will have two blocks, A and B. Dr. Singh will declare open the A Block which, with a plinth area of about 9.3 lakh square feet, will house the Legislative Assembly Hall and the Assembly Secretariat, the offices of the Governor, the Chief Minister,
Ministers and the Chief Secretary and certain core departments. It will have two floors to begin with and eventually six floors by May.
The Secretariat complex will be in the B Block. An elevated corridor will connect the Assembly and the Secretariat complexes.
Apart from the Assembly Hall, the rooms of the Governor, the Chief Minister, Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, leaders of other legislature parties and the Assembly Secretary will be on the ground floor.
The first legislature of the erstwhile Madras State after Independence was held in March 1952 at the Fort which was regarded as the first "establishment" of the British in India.
After the re-organisation of States, the Fort became the home of the Tamil Nadu Legislature and Secretariat.
The new complex is the dream project of Mr Karunanidhi who has turned 85 and said he plans to call it a day by June.
- Asian Tribune -