Deepa H Ramakrishnan

Rusted lamp-posts, dusty streets, garbage... the woes go on

Business worth several lakhs of rupees is transacted daily at Park Town market

Conservancy work may improve with privatisation of operation in Zone III, say officials

CHENNAI: The wholesale stainless steel market in Park Town is the largest in the city with business worth several lakhs of rupees transacted daily.

But its importance as a business hub has made little difference to the state of civic affairs in the crowded area.

Dark and narrow alley, rusted lamp-posts, dusty streets, uncleared garbage and rubble are the hallmarks of this north Chennai locality, where the trade in stainless steel goods is nearly 10,000 tonnes a month.

Streets in the area, including Kesava Iyer Street, Ponnappa Chetty Street and Ravanaier Street, Vengu Chetty Street and Mannar Street, remain either in complete darkness or are partly lit. “In the past few months we have had two attempts of robbery on Kesava Iyer Street alone mainly because there are no street-lights.

After these incidents some shopkeepers let their lights burn throughout the night. Ravanaier Street that has a girls’ school and a hospital too lacks street-lights,” complained Shiva, a resident.

The Chennai Corporation has removed most old lamp-posts on these streets and those that still remain are of use only to cable television and internet service operators. “On Mint Street cables dangle precariously posing danger to pedestrians and two-wheeler riders. The stretch is also used by heavy vehicles,” said Vinod O. Jain, a trader in stainless steel products.

Public conveniences

“Every day about 10,000 people visit the area that has over 1,500 businesses establishments and 5,000 households. Yet there are no public conveniences here.

People use walls of temples, schools and street corners as open urinals. We have been asking the Corporation to construct public conveniences in places on Paramasiva Street and Ekambareswarar Agraharam Street. These streets are swept once a day by Corporation staff, which is not sufficient. There are no dustbins either,” said Fatehraj of Exnora International.

“This area lacks proper civic amenities. The sewage lines in some places are old and get clogged often. There is no traffic regulation… vehicles are parked haphazardly. There is not much of visible policing. We have complained to the authorities concerned, but little action has followed,” said Lalith Kumar O.Jain, secretary, Tamilnadu Stainless Steel Manufacturers and Merchant Association.

What officials say

When contacted, Chennai Corporation officials said that work to install 13 new lamp-posts at a height of 7 metres had begun on Vengu Street, Mannar Street and Edapalayam Street.

Likewise 18 new lamp-posts are to come up on nine streets, including Kesava Iyer Street, Mint Street, Vengu Lane. Regarding conservancy work in the area, the officials said it was expected to improve with privatisation of the operation in Zone III (Pulianthope).