When the four marriage halls on Razack Garden Road come alive with festivities, life comes to a grinding halt at MMDA Colony. Sunitha Sekar on why residents dread nuptial days

A targets-driven marketing professional, C.L. Narasimhan has a long day. And often, it is made longer by an effort that will not show in his work appraisals. Much of his evening is lost getting back home. A resident of MMDA Colony, Narasimhan is invariably trapped in traffic on the last stretch. “When I return from work around 8 p.m., I am stuck at Razack Garden Road and MMDA Colony Road. It takes around half-an-hour to navigate these roads,” he frets. These two narrow stretches, which constitute a large part of MMDA Colony, serve as links between Poonamallee High Road and the Hundred-Feet Road. As a result, they buzz with vehicular movement at all times.

MMDA Colony Road is flooded by hordes of commuters from Poonamallee High Road headed towards Koyambedu. But the worst comes from elsewhere: Four closely located marriage halls on Razack Garden Road.

Not equipped with adequate parking facilities, these halls promote haphazard parking on the street, leading to a clogged road. Muralikrishna Kalyana Mandapam can hold nearly 500 people, but has parking only for twenty cars, according to a worker at the hall. SSE Mahal and Subham have made no provisions for parking. Says a worker at SSE Mahal, “We ask visitors to park their vehicles outside the hall or on any of the adjacent streets.”

Students of Mohammed Sathak Matriculation Higher Secondary School, located in the Colony, apparently bear the brunt of the problem. Says a teacher, “Whenever two or more halls are busy with functions, students find it difficult to cross the road. In such situations, we get security guards to help the children wade safely through the traffic.”

A Chennai City Traffic Police personnel says ambulances have been trapped in this chaotic traffic. “On the grounds of inadequate parking facilities, licenses of these halls should be cancelled. Sometime ago, we wrote to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and the Chennai Corporation about this. Neither responded, not took action.”

But there are signs of hope. Officials of Chennai Corporation have noted that licences of marriage halls without sufficient parking should ideally be cancelled. They have promised to look into the matter.

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