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Mechanic workshops eat into road space

LALITHASAI
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safe haven for anti-social activities:A number of vehicles parked on Canal Bank Road in Mandaveli in Chennai.Photo: K.V.Srinivasan
safe haven for anti-social activities:A number of vehicles parked on Canal Bank Road in Mandaveli in Chennai.Photo: K.V.Srinivasan

LALITHASAI

A number of cars (old and new) are lined up on either side of the small lane. Right on the middle of the road a mechanic is seated with a host of car accessories trying to give them a new look. A few feet away, a tinker is busy mending doors and windows of old cars. Vehicles, as small as a Maruthi 800, find it difficult to wind their way amidst them.

These scenes are part of Canal Bank Road, R.A. Puram, which connects II Main Road near Mandavelli MRTS terminal and R.A.Puram, III Cross Road (near Sangeetha Hotel). The western side of the Canal Bank Road is bordered by the compound walls of houses. On the eastern side of the road is the Buckingham Canal. The wall, which earlier separated Canal Bank Road and the waterway of Buckingham Canal has been broken to pave way for many business houses. The entire stretch is occupied by motor mechanic shops, starting from upholstery to tinkering, painting, welding, vulcanizing and overhauling of car engines. Around three influential mechanics have managed to set up a shop on the canal side which belongs to PWD or the MRTS railway office.

The residents of Canal Bank Road in R.A. Puram are unhappy with what is happening around them. Apart from this, they face a host of other problems— poor road condition, unauthorised parking and public nuisance. The problems do not just stop with Canal Bank Road but , it spills over to Fourth Main Road also. “We are unable to park our cars on the road as the mechanic workshops on Canal Bank Road park the vehicles which come to them for repair. They use even the platforms on Fourth Main Road,” say the residents.

It is tough even to turn a vehicle from Canal Bank Road to Fourth Main Road. The parked cars leave little space for easy movement of vehicles. “But we do not face any problem from the mechanics. They are very supportive and cordial. We are thus unable to pick up a quarrel with them or ask them to move out. As a result, they do not realise the nuisance they create in the neighbourhood,” opine another resident.

“Some of the vehicles are found parked for months. They are hardly repaired. They serve as a safe haven for anti-social elements. This is a threat to our safety,” add the residents.

With regard to the noise levels, they say that the decibel is high when the mechanics tinker and weld. The machines run all the time, creating a din, making normal conversations difficult. The neighbourhood is also troubled by the happenings around the TASMAC shop at the junction of R.A. Puram Third Main Road and western end of Canal Bank Road. The shop begins its operations early in the morning. “People sit in the middle of the road, take drinks and indulge in eve-teasing. They have scant respect for others,” complain the residents. Located at the entrance of Narmada Apartments on Third Main Road, the shop is a perennial nuisance to the residents. The customers park cycles, cars and two-wheelers in a haphazard manner in front of the shop hampering free vehicle movement. They also throw plastic bottles, water packets, left over food and ease themselves near the compound wall of the apartment. “We are unable to use the backyard of the apartment as the stench is unbearable,” says Ramachandran, a resident of the apartment.

The residents allege that a mechanic workshop, which is an unauthorised structure, has been constructed in the common area of the apartment. “We have undertaken several signature campaigns from the residents of the neighbourhood urging the Government to shift the shop but no action has been taken till date,” complain the residents.

Who permitted all these shops in the area? Are they all authorised? Can the authorities look into the matter so that the residents can heave a sigh of relief?

The Canal Bank Road and Fourth Main Road of Mandaveli face problems due to mechanic shops.

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