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    The World War II air-raid shelter near Kasimedu being demolished. | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

    The World War II air-raid shelter near Kasimedu being demolished. | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

    Historian V. Sriram says structure near Kasimedu should be protected

    A piece of the city’s rich colonial past made of concrete and metal is being demolished to make way for development work along Ennore Expressway. On Thursday, a hydraulic breaker found it hard to dismantle the concrete behemoth constructed several decades ago.

    The air-raid shelter constructed by the British to withstand bombs during World War II that usually stands neglected near Kasimedu, will soon become history.

    Locals not bothered

    Locals unaware of the history of the structure, do not seem to be bothered about the demolition.

    While those at the site said it was being pulled down for widening Ennore Expressway’s service lane, another said it was being done for laying of the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd’s (CPCL) crude oil pipeline. However, both the National Highways Authority of India, which manages the road, and the CPCL denied that they had anything to do with the demolition.

    Historian V. Sriram said the grey concrete structure was constructed by the British Government during the World War II as an air-raid shelter. He said several such air raid shelters were constructed in and around the city to house the local people in the event of an air attack.

    Over the years the concrete building, which was not put to use for the purpose it was constructed, had remained neglected by government agencies and had gradually become a public convenience for the locals.

    Dumping of garbage

    The concrete structure resembling a water sump with no doors reeks of a bad smell and is filled with garbage going to show the way ‘historic’ building has been treated by the government authorities.

    Mr. Sriram rues that when several buildings not of any historic value could be lifted and moved, this air raid shelter certainly deserves to be protected. He pointed out the concrete structure, though not converted into a museum, could have been preserved by moving it to the other side of the road so that it could serve as a reminder to a time when the city came close to be bombed.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by R. Srikanth / Chennai – December 01st, 2017

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