This follows the death of a girl whose bicycle is suspected to have skidded on sand

The Chennai Corporation has directed builders and property owners to not use public road space to store construction material. It has warned action against residents encroaching upon road space. This follows the death of an eight-year-old child in Velachery on Saturday, whose bicycle could have skidded on sand left on the road.

Corporation Commissioner D.Karthikeyan said: “We have strictly instructed our AEs/JEs to take action against those who have dumped sand or other construction material on the roads. It also reduces the carriage way. If people continue to store material on the roads, we will not hesitate to remove the stuff with the help of the police.” Residents can call and complain on such violations at the Corporation's helpline 1913.

At any given time, in the newly extended areas and areas including Velachery, about 25-30 constructions take place in an area comprising around 100 streets. In areas like Triplicane or Saidapet the number would be around 10 – 15.

A former official of the civic body recalled that earlier, a fine of Rs.500 was imposed if construction material was left on public roads.

Former Mayor M.Subramanian said that when residents stack up bricks or cement bags, they don't realise that they are encroaching on public space. “Since June 2008, the Corporation had collected Rs.27 lakh as fine from those who dumped construction debris and garbage on the roads.”

Congress leader Saidai P. Ravi said that the civic body insists on prior permission and payment for road cuts. “A similar mechanism must be introduced for construction material. When building permission is given, the Corporation should include a clause that construction material must not be kept on the road for more than a few hours,” he said. Sand on roads leading to schools is especially dangerous.

In many areas hardware stores too encroach on platform space to store construction material,” said Geethapriya Manikantan, a mother of two and a resident of Velachery.

A real estate agent from Mylapore, who did not want to be named, said that in several areas councillors were the first to go to any construction spot. “They demand money from property owners stating that sand was an obstruction on the road. But after they take the bribe, they do not care as to what happens to the sand,” he added.

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