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Shrinking road space a worry here

Saraswathy Srinivasan
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Action needed: Unauthorised parking and other encroachments on Senthamaraikannan Salai, Kottivakkam, ECR . Photo: M. Karunakaran
Action needed: Unauthorised parking and other encroachments on Senthamaraikannan Salai, Kottivakkam, ECR . Photo: M. Karunakaran

Residents of several layouts in Kottivakkam are at their wits' end because of the hassle that they face everyday in traversing Senthamaraikannan Salai that connects their areas to the East Coast Road.

A. Govindasamy, president of the Federation of East Coast Road Residents' Welfare Associations, an umbrella organisation comprising several residents' welfare bodies, says: “Senthamaraikanan Salai is the main approach road to residents of Sri Venkateswara Nagar, AG's Colony, New Colony and Kottivakkam Kuppam. It is a matter of concern for the residents of these colonies that the 30-feet cement road has shrunk to nearly 22 feet due to encroachments and further infringement is going on unchecked.”

He says the road has now become very cramped due to all sorts of encroachment, including the installation of a generator by a leading garments showroom at the entrance to the road on the one side and parking of vehicles by patrons of a multinational food chain that has been opened on the other.

As the restaurant has no car parking facility, vehicles are either parked on Senthamaraikannan Salai or on the ECR. Adding to the pressure is an auto stand that has newly come up near the restaurant.

Hampering free movement

The residents say they are put to hardship as the encroachments hamper free movement of traffic, making ingress and egress very difficult.

S. Radhakrishnan, office-bearer of the AG's Colony Residents Welfare Association, says turning into the road from ECR and going out is a big headache everyday.

“Senthamaraikannan Salai is the only motorable road to reach our colony. Otherwise, we have to take a circuitous route and the roads are not in good condition. Because of the encroachments, only one four-wheeler can pass on this road at a time. It is now like a village path.”

What irks the federation is the official apathy to their problem.

They have knocked on several doors, including the Chitlapakkam Panchayat Union commissioner, Kancheepuram District Collector, Police Commissioner, Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, but to no avail.

Mr. Govindasamy says Senthamaraikannan Salai was developed by Sri Venkateswara Nagar Residents' Welfare Association after a lot of struggle and the residents pooled in money to lay the road after which its maintenance was handed over to the Kottivakkam panchayat.

“It is sad that the panchayat is also not responding to our woes,” he adds.

“We also wish to bring to the notice of the authorities that some vehicles not belonging to residents are parked on the road at night and anti-social activities take place,” he says, urging appropriate action at the earliest.

Saraswathy Srinivasan

Encroachment makes entry and exit difficult for residents.

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