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Well-known for mangoes, Madhavaram still feels squeezed

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AT THE MERCY OF RAIN AND SHINE: Commuters are forced to wait under the shade of trees as the bus stand at Madhavaram-Red Hills High Road lacks a roof. —
AT THE MERCY OF RAIN AND SHINE: Commuters are forced to wait under the shade of trees as the bus stand at Madhavaram-Red Hills High Road lacks a roof. —

K. Lakshmi

It has its share of problems just as several local bodies do

CHENNAI: The mention of Madhavaram conjures up images of milk and mangoes as the area supplies these commodities to the rest of the city from the vast milk dairy of Aavin and mango groves. The area also houses a truck terminal that serves as a hub of lorry transport in the city.

Madhavaram, which is located along the Great Northern Trunk Road connecting the city with Nellore and Kolkata, also has its share of problems, just as several other local bodies do. Despite the recent widening of the GNT Road, the area is often choked with heavy traffic as the lorries, which either do not find space inside the terminal or want to save on rent, are parked on both sides of the road blocking the vehicular movement.

From a panchayat in 1971, Madhavaram rose to the status of a first-grade municipality in 2001 with a population of about 80,000. Spread across 17.41 sq. km, the area is a blend of fast developing residential areas, including Moolakadai, and educational and research institutes, including Directorate of Research (Animal Sciences) of Tamil Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and Horticultural Training Centre.

Until two decades ago, Madhavaram had numerous mango groves that provided livelihood to several families. But, the residential plots are slowly replacing even the few farms that contribute to the area’s greenery, lament long-time residents. However, wholesale merchants do brisk business during mango season by selling the produce from the neighbouring districts and Andhra Pradesh.

S.Palani of Thapalpetty said the patch work done on the stretches of the Madhavaram-Red Hills High Road had not helped easy traffic flow as the top layer had been washed off in recent rains.

Though the residents note that the facilities such as roads and streetlights have been improved, of late, lack of proper drinking water and sewerage network with a proper disposal point remain major problems.

Shyamala Rajan of Madhavaram said that as the area lacked a proper drainage system, the sewage carried through open canals are disposed of into vacant lands and the Madhavaram lake. Similarly, several areas have to make do with the available ground water to offset the shortage in municipal supply.

The lack of public transport connectivity is another problem plaguing the area. Only a few bus routes such as 170 A (Madhavaram-Tambaram) and 38 H (Madhavaram-Broadway) are operated. Commuters said buses plied to areas such as Tambaram, Mylapore, Broadway and Ambattur. Besides increase of services in existing routes, new bus routes to Koyambedu and T.Nagar must be introduced.

Though the roofless bus stand on Madhavaram-Red Hills High Road has been allotted Rs.25 lakh from Fisheries Minister K.P.P. Samy’s funds, it still waits for contractors to bid for the project.

Residents also demand that a government hospital or additional municipal health post be established to cope with the growing population. A bridge on the Moolakadai junction is also needed to ease the heavy traffic during rush hour.

Municipal Chairman D. Shanmugam said several works worth Rs.1.5 crore, particularly those requiring cement and steel, were pending owing to cost escalation of raw materials. There were no takers for culvert, building and overhead tank works. The local body was preparing the cost estimate for the roof of the bus depot at Madhavaram. Work orders for underground drainage project would be issued by the end of next month.

As far as drinking water supply was concerned, four wards in Thanikachalam Nagar had already been provided with house connections and tankers were being pressed into service for the remaining wards. Lakshmipuram was the only area that was in need of more water. Metrowater was preparing a detailed project report for the water supply scheme, he said. Vice-Chairman S. Sudharsanan said a gasifier crematorium worth Rs.43 lakh was nearing completion.

A trust with a corpus fund of Rs. 1 crore has been formed to look after its running and maintenance.

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