The Velachery Main Road suffers due to indiscriminate dumping of garbage
Dumping of garbage has eaten into considerable space on Velachery Main Road. The dumping has assumed such proportions that two-wheeler riders and pedestrians are often involved in minor accidents almost daily. The stretch between Medavakkam and Pallikaranai is a high risk zone.
Despite being merged with the Chennai Corporation, garbage collection and disposal have not improved in areas such as Jalladampettai and Pallikaranai. Added to this is a section of indifferent residents and traders, who dump garbage generated in their homes and commercial establishments in public places and road margins.
Velachery Main Road is a State Highway (No. 48) that connects Tambaram with Saidapet via Pallikaranai and Velachery and is also known as Marmalong Bridge-Irumbuliyur Road. Next to GST Road, it is the most important road in the city’s southern suburbs, running through some of the most thickly populated residential localities. The entire stretch is dotted with several educational institutions.
The volume of traffic on this important highway has increased phenomenally, forcing the State Highways Department to launch an ambitious widening project in the late 1990’s. The road widening has not been done in some areas such as Selaiyur, Sembakkam and Pallikaranai due to land acquisition and other issues. Even before widening was completed at the rest of the highway, the department built raised permanent medians to reduce accidents. Getting past Medavakkam in the morning and evening rush hours is a daily ordeal for motorists proceeding towards Sholinganallur and Velachery.
From Medavakkam bus stop onwards till Balaji Medical College, traffic slows down as vehicles cannot use the entire width of the carriageway, due to encroachments, parking of vehicles and more important, dumping of garbage. Mindless dumping of thermocol, paper, plastic and waste from gardens and kitchen find their way to the road margins.
Added to this is accumulation of silt along the margins that make driving conditions nightmarish for cyclists and two-wheeler riders. Normally, such arterial roads must be wide enough for two heavy vehicles to ride abreast, according to officials. With garbage and silt eating into road space, two-wheeler riders and pedestrians are exposed to risks. Residents say that not a day passes without a minor or major accident taking place between Medavakkam and Pallikaranai.
As it has been raining regularly in the evening, the margins become slushy and slippery. While it is the responsibility of the Chennai Corporation to remove garbage and dump them at the yard, which was earlier maintained by Pallikaranai Town Panchayat prior to its merger with the Corporation, it is also the responsibility of the State Highways Department to keep road margins free from silt.
The Department engages workers to clear silt occasionally only after people complain about how a good portion of the road has completely come under silt. Almost all arterial roads in the southern suburbs lack pavements and it only speaks of the dangers faced by pedestrians.