In the absence of footpaths along many city roads, renovation of neatly-laid ones with expensive granite slabs may appear to be an unpardonable extravagance. But the Chennai Corporation is engaging in such ill-advised exercises.

In certain zones, the civic body has given good footpaths the sheen and allure of a granite finish, in the process racking up huge expenses.

Urban planners contend that this money could have been better spent on battered footpaths by having them repaired.

What it worse is that these granite footpaths do not mesh with elements of proper design.

Narasimhan Road in T. Nagar is a case in point. This stretch had one of the better footpaths in the city. Except for encroachments and lack of maintenance, there was nothing wrong with them.

All it required were minor repairs and a will to crack down on squatters. Instead, the civic body has raised eyebrows by uprooting the cement slabs and embarking on the current project.

According to urban planners, the lack of a proper design is going to add considerably to the already high cost of laying a granite surface.

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