Buses parked around the structure provide an effective cover for passersby and bus crew to urinate

With its peripheries being used as an open urinal, the traffic island housing late Chief Minister Kamarajar at Chathram Bus Stand has turned an eyesore in the city.

Being a satellite bus stand, Chathram is a gateway to the city for hundreds of commuters visiting the city every day. The bus stand is the terminus for buses plying on Perambalur, Ariyalur, Jayamkondam and several other destinations , attracting a large number of passengers, who are forced to the stench that pervades the area.

Most of the buses are parked around the traffic island, virtually providing an effective cover for passersby and the bus crew to urinate around the structure with impunity. Drains, with broken concrete slabs around the traffic island, only add to the squalor and over powering stench. The best efforts of corporation sanitary workers in cleaning up the area and spraying chlorine powder around the traffic island on a day-to-day basis goes to waste within a couple of hours. The corporation has positioned a mobile toilet adjacent to the traffic island. But the toilet stands amidst sewage, putting off people. A permanent toilet situated on the other side of the road is hardly visible, almost concealed behind commercial establishments and scores of passenger and goods vans using the area as a parking lot.

A few civic activists have been lobbying in vain for improving the upkeep of the island, at least out of respect for the former Chief Minister. A.S.Charles, State organiser of Congress Seva Dal, has even approached the court seeking a direction to the authorities to prevent parking of buses around the island . “Though we have been fighting for it for long, the corporation has turned a blind eye to the problem,” he says.

N.Ramakrishnan, founder, MGR Nalpani Mandram, says that despite several petitions to the district authorities no action has been taken. “Positioning a mobile toilet is not a solution to the problem. The authorities should prevent parking of buses around the island. The vehicles should be parked along the Karur road and the corporation should provide adequate basic amenities. Instead of kneejerk reaction, the civic body should find a permanent and proper solution,” he says.

The condition of the traffic island comes as a shocker to many travellers, especially at a time when Tiruchi Corporation had taken up an ambitious project to beautify the traffic islands and medians across the city with private participation. The project itself has made a slow and modest start with work at seven places currently underway.

Enquiries with corporation officials reveal that the traffic island is one among those selected for development and likely to be maintained with the district Congress unit. A senior corporation official said sanitary workers have been instructed to prevent people from urinating around the island. But despite their vigil, the practice continued, he lamented emphasising the need for better civic sense among the people.