Downtown

The height of poor planning

A small cement block runs along the median on Sardar Patel Road, making the stretch dangerous for motorists. Although a reflector is in place, it is not of much use, say residents. Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

* When A. Revathi moved into Venkat Ratnam Nagar in Adyar in 1976, the threshold of her house had four steps. Each step measured nine inches. Now, her house is left with one step. With the gradual increase in the height of the road, her house was losing one step in 10 years.

* C. Ramakrishnan, a resident of Gandhi Nagar, says, “In the last five to six years, the height of the road outside my house has increased by 1.5 feet.”

The Chennai Corporation is re-laying many roads in the city and residents are annoyed with the way this is being done. In many areas, the road level is higher than the level at which the house is located.

Many online social groups and various residents’ welfare associations have taken a serious note of this issue and have made representations to the authorities concerned.

Federation of Adyar Residents’ Associations gave a representation to the Chennai Corporation about the increased road height in many streets of Adyar.

C. Ramakrishnan, secretary, FEDERA, says: “This is not the first time we are making such representations. Three years ago, we were promised by the authorities concerned that standards would be followed while laying roads. But such violations continue. Road work was taken up on Second Cross Street on January 8 at night. Once we realised that the road was being laid without scraping the existing surface, my neighbour and I rushed to the spot and tried to persuade the Corporation officials and contractors to stop the work. But, they did not pay any heed to our request and went ahead with the work.”

“Upon being asked, the officials and contractor said that milling was not part of their contract,” he added.

“The original width of the road could be 80-feet but the re-laying covers only 60-feet. Either side of the road has been left undone and there is a gap between the platform and the road.

Similarly, Chitlapakkam Rising, an online social group, filed a Public Interest Litigation last week against violations in undertaking road work.

According to Sunil Jayaram, a member of the group, “We filed an RTI in 2013 seeking clarification from Pallavaram Municipality on why the roads are not scrapped and how much height is gained. The Municipality in its response said that in 2011, the height of the road had been increased by eight inches,” said Jayaram. “They said this would not happen again. But the practice continues.”

Earlier, Chitlapakkam Rising also organised a signature campaign (both online and door-to-door). “Residents welfare associations of Srinivasa Nagar, MC Nagar, Raman Street, Raja Rajeshwari Nagar, Sarvamangala Nagar and State Bank Colony also supported the cause. Around 2.5 lakh people participated in the signature campaign.”

Namashivayam, a resident of Venkat Ratnam Nagar in Adyar, points out to a stretch of LB Road (near BSNL exchange) where the road has three layers. It was re-laid last week.

“Three months ago, when Sardar Patel Road was re-laid, the parking slot below the Adyar flyover dropped to a lower level. It was difficult for car drivers to reverse from the parking area. After repeated complaints, the surface of the parking slot was brought to the level of the road by laying tiles."

At Third Cross Street, Kasturba Nagar, the road was laid recently, again without scraping the existing surface. One could not differentiate between a speed-breaker and the road,” says Namashivayam.

Residents say that when a new road is being laid manholes on the road continue to be at the previous level. If two-wheeler drivers do not notice this, they can fall into the pothole. The suspensions of vehicles too get damaged as such manholes make for a bumpy ride. Such manholes increase the chances of an accident.

Residents also cite the increasing height of the road as one of important reasons for rainwater entering the houses during the floods.

Jayashree Ramasubramaniam, who has been residing in Adyar since 1968, says, “In 2005, there was heavy rain and though rainwater was stagnant, it did not enter the house as our threshold was slightly higher than the road. But in the 2015 rain, the water entered our house, because road had become considerably higher.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 9:17:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/the-height-of-poor-planning/article8233383.ece

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