Infrastructure News – Jeddah Tower | Poonamallee-Porur Stretch | Kilambakkam Bus Terminus | Housing Construction Cost | Hindu Temple to Open
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Reviving the Jeddah Tower: A Staggering Architectural Feat
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) has rekindled the construction of the monumental Jeddah Tower project, a structure poised to shatter records as the world’s tallest building, soaring to heights exceeding 1,000 meters. This ambitious endeavour, which had encountered setbacks, is now set to resume with renewed vigour, as developers invite contractors to bid on completing this groundbreaking edifice by year-end.
Official Tender Issued
The official tender for the Jeddah Tower project has been unveiled, marking a significant milestone in its resurgence. Talal Ibrahim Almaiman, CEO of the Kingdom Holding Company, confirmed the issuance of this critical tender. Contractors have been granted a three-month window to prepare their bids, and it is anticipated that they will form collaborative ventures, enlisting both local and international partners to bring this vision to fruition.
Solid Foundation Laid
The foundation and piling work, the foundational stages of this iconic tower, have been successfully executed. These crucial initial steps lay the groundwork for what promises to be an architectural marvel.
A Triumph of Height
Once completed, the Jeddah Tower will surpass the illustrious Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE by an astounding 172 meters, securing its status as an unprecedented vertical masterpiece. Nestled at the heart of the Jeddah Economic City development, it will serve as a resplendent centrepiece, embodying the spirit of innovation and ambition.
Beyond Tall: A Tower of Luxury and Convenience
This towering colossus will not merely be an architectural marvel; it will also house a plethora of amenities designed to cater to the needs and desires of its future occupants. The tower will host an array of attractions, including shopping malls, high-end boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and even tennis courts, promising a lifestyle of opulence and convenience.
In summary, the revival of the Jeddah Tower project heralds a new chapter in Saudi Arabia’s architectural ambitions. With its resolute ascent into the skies, it is poised to redefine our understanding of vertical construction, offering a glimpse into a future where the sky is no longer the limit.
Significant Progress on Poonamallee-Porur Stretch of CMRL Phase 2
55% Viaduct Completion
Significant strides have been made in constructing the Poonamallee-Porur stretch of Chennai Metro Rail’s Phase 2 project, with approximately 55% of the viaduct work already finished. The target for the completion and commissioning of this stretch is set for the end of 2025.
316 Pillars Erected
A noteworthy achievement in this endeavour is the completion of 316 pillars, marking a substantial milestone in the project’s progress. The project management has urged the contractor to expedite the remaining work, ensuring that the ambitious timeline is met.
On-Track for Timely Completion
The project remains on course, as Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) (chennaimetrorail.org) officials conduct regular inspections to verify that the entire stretch will be ready for passenger service by the end of 2025. The next crucial step involves the laying of tracks, scheduled to commence next month, with a projected completion date of April the following year, contingent on meeting deadlines.
Within the larger context of the 116-km Chennai Metro Rail Phase 2 project, which boasts a total cost of ₹61,843 crore, the 7.94 km Poonamallee-Porur stretch represents an investment of ₹1,147 crore. This stretch is an integral part of the 26.1-km Corridor 4 of Phase 2, connecting Light House to Poonamallee.
To ensure timely completion, it is imperative to allocate additional manpower resources for the construction along this stretch. The civil work alone is estimated to take at least a year, followed by another year for system installation. Increasing the workforce is paramount to expedite project completion, which in turn will alleviate traffic congestion in the region.
Critical Components of Phase 2
The Chennai Metro Rail’s Phase 2 project encompasses two vital components: the 45.4-km Madhavaram-SIPCOT (via Thirumayilai) Corridor 3 and the 44.6-km Madhavaram-Sholinganallur (via Koyambedu) Corridor 3. These corridors are integral to the overarching vision of enhancing Chennai’s urban mobility infrastructure.
Nitin Gadkari Emphasizes Cost Reduction in Housing Construction
Shift to Smaller Homes and Innovative Techniques
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari delivered a significant message during his address at the 40th Annual General Meeting of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India (Credai) Pune Metro. He advocated shifting the focus from large-sized homes to smaller, more efficient units. He highlighted the importance of embracing new technologies, innovative construction methods, and cutting-edge construction materials to substantially decrease housing costs.
Decentralization for Smart Villages
Gadkari stressed the need for decentralization, suggesting a shift from the concept of “smart cities” to the development of “smart villages” that can seamlessly connect with urban centres through a robust road network. He underlined that housing initiatives should prioritize the majority of the population, as only a tiny fraction can afford homes with price tags exceeding Rs 1 crore.
Applying Innovative Construction Approaches
Drawing from his experience in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Gadkari cited examples of how innovative construction technology and materials had successfully reduced construction costs for infrastructure projects. He encouraged the adoption of similar concepts in residential construction to make homes more affordable.
Focus on Affordable Housing
While acknowledging the current demand for high-priced homes, Gadkari urged developers to shift their focus and address the housing needs of the common people. He emphasized the importance of not becoming complacent with selling high-priced properties but rather striving to provide affordable housing solutions.
Infrastructure Investment for Pune
In a promising development, Gadkari announced that his ministry would initiate flyover projects in Pune, with an impressive investment of Rs 55,000 crore. This initiative aims to enhance road connectivity and alleviate the strain on existing city infrastructure, promoting the idea of a New Pune.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s vision aligns with the concept of inclusive and affordable housing, emphasizing the role of technology, innovative materials, and a shift in priorities towards the common citizens’ housing needs. Additionally, his commitment to improving road connectivity and infrastructure further supports the development of sustainable urban and rural areas.
Fulfilling a Decade-Old Promise, Hindu Temple to Open in January
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is on the verge of realizing a decade-old electoral pledge just months ahead of the nationwide polls. The announcement has been made that a contentious new Hindu temple, the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir, is set to open in January. This temple, situated on disputed land, represents a significant development in the electoral landscape.
Revealing the Lavish Structure
Recently, detailed descriptions of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir were unveiled, offering insights into the opulent edifice under construction at the site of the Babri Masjid, which was demolished by right-wing Hindu groups in 1992. Located in Ayodhya, a sacred city in the politically pivotal state of Uttar Pradesh, the temple’s interiors will feature gold bars and artwork celebrating India’s rich diversity, as described by Nripendra Misra, the chairman of the temple’s construction committee.
Longstanding Dispute and Historical Context
The disputed land has been at the heart of a contentious dispute for decades. Hindu devotees believe it to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, a revered deity in Hinduism. In contrast, Muslims assert their claim to the land, given the presence of the Babri Masjid, constructed in 1528. Some Hindus contend that the mosque was built upon the remnants of a Hindu temple, allegedly destroyed during the rule of Babar, the first Mughal emperor of South Asia.
Political Implications and Election Boost
The temple’s inauguration is anticipated to provide a significant political advantage to Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the lead-up to the national elections. This move underscores Modi’s commitment to a promise made to his supporters almost a decade ago. However, Nripendra Misra emphasizes that the choice of January for the inauguration is unrelated to the upcoming elections. He notes that the decision is based on astrological considerations, as January aligns with auspicious celestial alignments.
A History of Controversy and Communal Tensions
The site’s history is marred by controversy. It once housed the Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque that was infamously desecrated and destroyed by right-wing Hindu mobs wielding hammers and their bare hands in 1992. This act triggered widespread communal violence that resulted in over 2,000 casualties nationwide. Subsequently, Hindu nationalists mobilized to construct the Ram Mandir on the contested land, setting the stage for an emotionally charged and politically fraught saga spanning nearly three decades.
Kilambakkam Bus Terminus Creating Accessible Infrastructure
The construction of the Kilambakkam bus terminus in Chennai has aimed to incorporate features in line with accessibility norms, adhering to the ‘Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disabilities and Elderly Persons.’ This stands in contrast to the Koyambedu bus terminus (CMBT), highlighting the commitment to ensuring accessibility for all.
Enhancing Accessibility Features
Unlike its counterpart in Koyambedu, the Kilambakkam bus terminus has been meticulously designed to accommodate wheelchair users, featuring tactile flooring, dedicated accessible toilets, and ticket counters tailored to accessibility guidelines. These improvements are instrumental in fostering inclusivity.
Mixed Reactions from Disability Rights Activists
The Kilambakkam bus terminus has evoked a range of responses from disability rights activists who recently conducted an evaluation of the facility. Representing five non-governmental organizations (NGOs), these activists embarked on a collective inspection to conduct an access audit. Their primary objectives were to assess the terminus’s adherence to barrier-free standards for individuals with disabilities and verify compliance with the allocation of 5% of shops for persons with disabilities.
A Detailed Assessment
The audit of this bus terminus, overseen by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) (cmdachennai.gov.in), was prompted by directives from the Director for Welfare of the Differently Abled in response to representations made by the NGOs. During the evaluation, activists, including individuals with visual and locomotor disabilities, identified areas for improvement.
While acknowledging the visually appealing appearance of the bus terminus, the activists raised concerns about certain aspects of accessibility. They pointed out that the ramps at the facility were excessively steep, and the absence of Braille boards made it challenging for visually impaired individuals to locate their designated buses. Additionally, the activists observed that the toilet facilities were not adequately tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities.
Room for Improvement
Sujatha, a representative of the non-profit organization Better World Shelter, commended the inclusion of tactile flooring but noted that it was inconsistently implemented, hindering navigation to lifts and waiting rooms for individuals with visual impairments. She emphasized the importance of introducing Braille signage to facilitate easy access to the correct bus bays.
In summary, the Kilambakkam bus terminus has made strides in prioritizing accessibility, but there remain critical areas that require attention and improvement to ensure an inclusive environment for all travellers, particularly those with disabilities.