Sembakkam – Nanmangalam road has been lying in shambles for decades

For several years now, the Sembakkam–Nanmangalam Road has been in shambles and there seems to be no initiative from the local bodies or even the State Highways Department to upgrade it and improve connectivity for the benefit of school students and the general public.

The road, that links Velachery Main Road at Gowrivakkam in Sembakkam Town Panchayat limits and Nanmangalam Village Panchayat and subsequently Kovilambakkam on Medavakkam (Mount Madipakkam Road) Main Road, has been laid over the bund of the sprawling Nanmangalam Lake and forms a natural boundary between this water body and the Nanmangalam Reserve Forest.

It is the shortest link between Sembakkam and Kovilambakkam via Nanmangalam. Of the entire six km stretch, nearly 1.5 km between Gowrivakkam and Jayendra Nagar comes under Reserve Forest area and after nearly four decades of struggle, a cement concrete road surface was laid a few years ago, said G. Shankar, a resident of Tirumalai Nagar, while speaking to Downtown.

However, the vital link beyond Jayendra Nagar and till Nanmangalam continues to be neglected. Pointing out to the creation of many link roads and their regular maintenance by Chennai Corporation or the State Highways Department in the immediate fringes such as Poonamallee and Velachery, L. Dharani, a pensioner, wondered why important link roads in the city’s southern suburbs were given a step-motherly treatment.

If this road was upgraded and maintained well it would be of immense benefit to several hundred school children and the general public who now were forced to wade through knee-deep water. Prior to the monsoon, cars and auto rickshaws were at least able to negotiate the pothole-ridden stretch along this road to avoid the heavily congested Velachery Main Road.

Inundated

Now, even that is not possible as overflowing water from Nanmangalam Lake has inundated the stretch, said J. Ravi, an auto driver. Carrying out improvement works on this link to enable even introduction of Metropolitan Transport Corporation services was not a tall order, according to him. Residents like Ravi are of the opinion that attention was paid only to maintenance of roads in urban pockets and that those in localities such as theirs were given a raw deal.

It is not just this link, but several others are also in a similar condition. Some of the bus routes too were in a bad condition and there have been instances in the past when Metropolitan Transport Corporation stopped its services due to unmotorable conditions. The Vadakkapattu – Kovilambakkam road and the Agaramthen – Vengatamangalam – Kandigai road are in such a pathetic condition that people are forced to take long circuitous routes to reach their destinations.

Residents says that the urban local bodies provide the best of concrete-topped road surfaces to small stretches that hardly witness any significant flow of traffic. The State Highways Department too focuses only on arterial roads, while residents living in deep remote pockets have to be content with potholed-ridden roads.

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