Downtown

“We do not want Gandhi Nagar to become another T.Nagar”

The fourth main road in Adyar. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

An outlet set up by a coffee chain, on Gandhi Nagar Fourth Main Road, is drawing a lot of attention. Long-time residents of the area claim that the setting up of this outlet marks the sixth case of a residential house in the street being converted into a commercial establishment with no parking slot.

Fourth Main Road has a jewellery shop, an organic vegetable store, a nursery and three banks. These residents say the advent of commercial entities has detracted from the serenity of this residential locality.

“Why are permissions being granted for commercial establishments in residential colonies?” asks V.S. Ravikumar, a chartered accountant and a long-time resident of the area who is mobilising residents to combat the ‘commercialisation’ of the neighbourhood. One more commercial establishment is coming up at the intersection of Third Crescent Park Road, he says. “If we do not wake up to the danger now, Fourth Main Road will also be overrun with commercial establishments, as is already the case with First Main Road. We don’t want Gandhi Nagar to become another T.Nagar,” he says.

To start with, a few residents have come up with a common email ID and a WhatsApp group has also been formed. They next plan to form an association with defined bye laws to discourage commercial establishments from setting shop in the colony. “We are also working on printing handouts that would be distributed to residents requesting them not to let out their premises for commercial purposes,” says 38-year-old Sivaram Arunachalam who lives in an independent house.

Gandhi Nagar is one of the first planned layouts of Madras, where 332 housing plots were provided with houses by the Madras Cooperative House Construction Society with underground drainage and broad roads. In the plan, land was earmarked for the creation of schools and playgrounds. Residents began to settle down in the locality around 1949. Its proximity to IIT-Madras, Anna University and the IT corridor makes it a sought-after locality. At least, six well-known educational institutions are located in the colony, which leads to traffic snarls during weekdays.

Fourth Main Road had around 90 individual houses, now you can count the number of independent houses on the fingers of your hands, say residents. “Many independent houses have given way to apartments as the second-generation started moving abroad,” says R. Narayanan, who lives at Subham apartment, one of the first apartments to come up on the stretch. It was built in 1988. “These commercial establishments invite vehicular traffic and we want to restore the pristine beauty that Gandhi Nagar once had,” he says. Residents who wish to join the group may write to ourgandhinagar@gmail.com



How Kalakshetra Colony fought:

Members of Kalakshetra Colony Welfare Association staged a road roko in 2012 outside a newly-opened boutique that was functioning without a licence. Although they were not successful in getting the outlet out of their neighbourhood, they sent out a stern message to other establishments that were planning to enter the Colony. Residents do not allow vendors to set up shop.



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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 4:44:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/we-do-not-want-gandhi-nagar-to-become-another-tnagar/article7361363.ece

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