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Rains cause havoc in southern suburbs

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Battered: The condition of the Medavakkam Main Road in Keelkattalai is an example of how the post-rain suburbs look like.
Battered: The condition of the Medavakkam Main Road in Keelkattalai is an example of how the post-rain suburbs look like.

Special Correspondent

Black topping ripped off, gravel exposed; residents lament poor quality of work

TAMBARAM: Roads have been the biggest casualty in the recent bout of rains in the southern suburbs of Chennai. The rains have ripped off the black topping in tar roads and exposed the gravel in metal roads.

Administrators and elected representatives in every urban and rural local body here have been flooded with complaints of battered roads owing to rains. Some of worst affected areas are Nanganallur, Madipakkam, Keelkattalai, Pallavaram, Tambaram and Medavakkam among others.

The Medavakkam Main Road linking Velachery Main Road and St. Thomas Mount is probably the worst affected. The stretch for about two kilometres between Keelkattalai and Madipakkam junction has been left ravaged. Two-wheeler riders are finding it difficult to cross the stretch without skidding in the slush.

School children had slush splashed on their uniforms in the morning. The problem in this particular stretch is due to the road digging taken up as part of the underground drainage project of Pallavaram Municipality.

Road restoration works were not done properly after laying of sewers, complained Keelkattalai residents. Senior engineers of the State Highways Department said they would soon be taking up improvement works on the stretch of this 8.6 kilometre long road between St. Thomas Mount railway station and Medavakkam at an estimated cost of Rs. 14 crore. The project would be executed under a scheme of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Project.

Earlier tenders for the project had no takers, engineers said, adding they were hopeful of work on it starting soon. Activists said that unlike offices of many government departments, the Highways Department did not have offices locally, where residents could contact staff and submit their grievances.

Many interior streets in Tambaram Municipality, particularly in East Tambaram too are in a shambles. If the poor quality of work on existing roads is a reason, pending and abandoned projects in others are also a cause.

They pointed out that failure to adhere to stringent quality while laying new roads and insufficient maintenance were the reasons for road surface to get damaged quickly. Local body administrators did not attach importance to monitoring work so that roads withstand at least brief spells of rain, they said.

Unless 100 per cent of the funds sanctioned for the project were utilised, the life of roads could not be guaranteed. Calling for greater transparency while executing such basic development works, activists reminded administrators to attach greater importance to ensuring thorough quality.

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