For two years, the large hole has been an eyesore, emitting a foul odour and endangering the life of people
Every night while closing his shop, K. Boopalan offers a little prayer, for the success of his enterprise. He then offers an additional prayer for those walking on Grand Southern Trunk Road in Guindy – that no one should stumble and fall into the stormwater drain through a gaping hole in the pavement.
“This hole has existed for nearly two years. Not only is it an eyesore, it emits a foul odour and several people have fallen through it into the drain,” says Mr. Boopalan, who runs a hardware store near Guindy railway station.
According to Sashi Kumar, a pharmacist who is among the many shop owners on this road, several young people, senior citizens and disabled residents have tripped on the hole and fallen into the drain, where refuse and sewage has accumulated.
“Fortunately, there has been no loss of life so far,” he said.
To avoid the hole, pedestrians walk on the carriageway of GST Road, exposing them to the risk of being hit by speeding vehicles, he added.
Mr. Kumar said a few residents had placed wooden sheets over the hole, but they were flimsy and often broke.
Several shop owners have also spent their own money to place concrete blocks over other similar holes on the pavement of the stretch.
Around two years ago, the State Highways Department carried out work along GST Road, which included placing tiles over concrete slabs covering drains.
However, residents say the work was not good enough, as the hole has existed since then, and has still not been covered up.
GST Road, part of National Highway 45, is maintained by the Chennai City Roads wing of the State Highways Department from the ‘zero point’ on Dr. Muthuswamy Bridge near Fort Railway Station till Irumbuliyur, Tambaram. Beyond that, the road is maintained by the National Highways Authority of India.
Officials of the highways department said maintenance work was carried out on roads and pavements at regular intervals.
They added that they would look into the problem as soon as possible.