CHENNAI: Pointing out that the Royapuram railway station building at present stands enlisted in the list of heritage buildings and there is a protection to the building, the Madras high court has suggested that if the railways want to expand the station, such expansion is always possible even while preserving the heritage portion. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R.Mahadevan gave the suggestion while closing a PIL from advocate S.Sathia Chandran, which sought to restrain authorities from deleting Royapuram railway station, from the list of heritage buildings in phase I.
In its order, the Bench said, "In so far as the issue is concerned, at present the building stands enlisted at serial No.16 in the list of heritage buildings as per the notification already issued. Thus, there is a protection to the building. As to what would happen in future, we cannot guess. But suffice to say there is a mandate prohibitory against railways at present. We may suggest that if the railways want to expand the station, such expansion is always possible even while preserving the heritage portion".
According to Sathia Chandran, on June 22, 2013, he came across a report in an English newspaper that Southern Railway had approached the Heritage Conservation Committee requesting for removal of Royapuram railway station building from the list of heritage buildings to enable them to demolish it and undertake some projects. The building, though very small in size, was of historic importance by remaining as the oldest station in the entire sub-continent. In the 72 acre station premises, the heritage building does not even occupy a quarter of a ground. In such a situation, the insensitivity of the Southern Railway to history and heritage of the station building was highly condemnable. The Royapuram station was inaugurated on July 1, 1856, which was etched in history would be wiped off by the unwise move of Southern Railway. It was not only an unwise move but also an illegal move for which the Heritage Conservation Committee should reject the request at once, Chandran said.