Downtown

From dumping ground to residential locality

The Madley subway under construction to replace the level crossing on Madley Road in T. Nagar in 1988.   | Photo Credit: K_GAJENDRAN

Forty-eight years ago, when I came to West Mambalam as a nine-year-old, there were hardly any houses in the area. In Kasivishwanathan Colony, where I lived, there were many vacant lands for youngsters to convert into cricket grounds.

With hardly any transportation, we had to go to places on foot. I remember waiting for long at two railway level crossings, one connecting West Mambalam to T. Nagar near what is today the Duraisamy subway and Madley subway and the other near Srinivasa Theatre, connecting T. Nagar and Kannamapettai.

When the level crossing was replaced by a subway on Duraisamy Road connecting it with Brindavan Street, the area began to develop. The images are still vivid in my mind. Before the subway came about, the entire place was being used as a dumping yard. Later, buses were diverted via Brindavan Street and we were finally connected.

While connectivity became better, we still had to grapple with problems of sewage overflow, water stagnation and lack of drinking water. Water scarcity was one of the main reasons people kept away from the area. The time between 1983 and 1986 was the worst. Then tanks were provided by the government with a capacity of 3,000 litres each, which came as a big relief to the residents.

Time and again, Murthy Street, Balakrishna Naicken Street, Rajagopalan Street and Vinayagam Street would be completely inundated due to water stagnation. Lack of proper roads left the entire place slushy. Each time, we were forced to stay indoors for a few days.

Entertainment in those days meant visiting two non-AC theatres, Kothadanraman Theatre and Srinivasa Theatre.

The latter was closed down in the 1990s. More people started coming to the neighbourhood with the construction of the Udhayam Cinema Complex. As more people moved in, the area developed more. Today, there is hardly any trace of the bygone, but they remain with me as fond memories.

(S. Parthasarathy has been a resident of West Mambalam since 1966.)

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 12:26:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/from-dumping-ground-to-residential-locality/article6710937.ece

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