Old Mahabalipuram Road or Rajiv Gandhi Salai, a toll road commonly referred as OMR connects Chennai to Mahabalipuram. This suburb of Chennai was once a deserted land parcel. Due to the availability of land and its close proximity to the residential localities of Velachery, Adyar and Thiruvanmiyur, the government of Tamil Nadu initiated the most ambitious IT corridor project along this stretch. This made OMR, the IT corridor or the IT Expressway of the city. The IT industry came to Chennai in the mid 90s. The growth story of OMR started in early 2000 and between 2002–2006, it was only the government agencies which were driving the growth of the locality. IT parks like TIDCO, ELCOT and SIPCOT were established. After 2006, it was the private players who developed IT parks along this stretch. The government is implementing the project in two phases. Phase I from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri is completed with a six-lane main carriageway and service lanes. Phase II from Siruseri to Mahabalipuram will take off soon.
Accessibility and nearby localities:
OMR is well connected by bus and train. The airport and central railway station lie within a radius of 12 km. The locality is surrounded by prime residential areas like Velachery, Adyar and Thiruvanmiyur. The IT sector has driven the growth of residential real estate and today the locality has become one of the preferred residential markets in the city. Majority of the population living here is from the IT/ ITeS sector. It has link roads which connect it with the entertainment corridor of ECR. It is also connected to the industrial corridor of GST Road via link roads. Connectivity and accessibility to the prime localities, good business infrastructure with hotels, schools, hospitals, retail outlets and malls and residential developments from top builders is making the locality one of the preferred areas to invest in Chennai.
OMR has some of the best educational institutions in the city. Universities like Sathyabama, National Maritime University and Hindustan are located along this stretch. It has some well known engineering colleges like Jeppiar Group of Institutions and SSN College of Engineering. Other colleges like CL Baid Metha College of Pharmacy, MNM Jain College, Dhanraj Baid Jain College, Thangavelu Engineering College, SMK Fomra Institute of Technology, Mohamed Sathak College of Arts & Science, and National Institute of Fashion Technology are also present here.
OMR has schools which cover all the boards of education. Some of the best schools here include Gateway The Complete School, Al-Fajr International School, Abacus Montessori School, The British International School, APL Global School, Sunbeam Matriculation, Dr. C.L. Mehta Sishya O.M.R. School and Vael’s Billabong. It houses a number of day care centers and crèche targeting the IT population.
The hospitality sector has grown along this stretch to meet the needs of the various IT companies. Ginger Hotel, Crescent Seacliff, Novotel, Ibis, Crescent Inn, Fortune Select Palms, Aloft Chennai, The Centre Point, Hotel Lemon Tree, Asiana and Taj Gateway are a few popular hotels here. The stretch also has restaurants where different varieties of cuisines are served.
OMR has a mall called Coromandel Plaza and a number of standalone retail outlets like E-Zone, Hi-style, Nilgiris, Zentrum, Shah’s Appliances, Ekbote furniture, Samsung Plaza, Max, Waves, Bata, etc. Two other malls Marg Junction and Marina Grand are under construction. Malls are also being planned in the SEZs present in this area.
Theatres and multiplex like AGS Cinemas and Arvind Theatre are located along this stretch. Multiplex Cinepolis is under construction in Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram Radial Road. Entertainment centres such as Mayajaal and Prarthana Drive-in Theatre located in ECR are just a few kilometres away from this locality. Amusement parks, beach resorts and beach houses along the ECR stretch are also just a short drive away from this locality.
OMR has some of the best multi-speciality and super speciality hospitals in Chennai. Chettinad Super Speciality Hospital, Apollo Hospital, Dr.Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Sri Kalyaan Multispecialty Medical Center, and Saraswathy Multi Speciality Hospital are present here. The locality also has a good number of clinics, dispensaries and pharmacies.
Places of worship:
Temples like ISKCON, Arulmigu Marundeeswarar Temple, Ashtalakshmi Temple, and Sri Prathyangira Devi Temple are a few of the many temples located here. It also has a number of churches and mosques like Dunamis AG church, Sagaya Madha Church, Jamia Masjid & Islamic Center and Sholinganallur Mosque.
OMR is all set to become a highly developed sub-city by itself. The presence of large number of offices and the infrastructural development along this stretch has driven the growth of the retail, residential and hospitality sectors. In terms of the realty market, the toll in Perungudi determines the realty scenario. The prices are rapidly growing and the demand is high for the regions before toll gate considering its proximity to the centre of the city. The areas after toll show comparatively lower demand. Traffic is a major problem on the stretch. During peak hours, the scenario becomes worse. In order to decongest and to improve the infrastructure, government has planned a few key projects:
- Elevated road is proposed from Taramani up to Mamallapuram which will cover a distance of 45 km
- Link road from Neelankarai on ECR to connect the radial road at the Thoraipakkam junction (OMR)
Image: By Nileshantony92 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27719142