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A lockdown project

New measures to promote safety Photos: special arrangement and R. Ragu  

Seethamma Extension Welfare Association (SEWA) in Teynampet will soon turn one. Though much of this year was spent locked-down, residents see a silver lining to it. The lockdown helped the Association raise the bar in terms of safety and cleanliness.

Last year, the Association got unauthorised college vans parked on our roads removed.

This came as a big relief to residents as our streets were being misused by drivers who had parked their vehicles there, for carrying out unwholesome activities.

Speeding and reckless driving make up an issue that we want to see addressed. Police personnel act upon our complaints. However, to find a permanent solution to this problem, we approached the Greater Chennai Corporation and police officials seeking their permission to install speed breakers.

As a pilot study for evaluating their effectiveness and endurance, the speed breakers were installed on First Main Road in the first week of July. Speed breakers have enhanced road safety, particularly for pedestrians. Lane discipline has increased and overtaking has reduced significantly.

The Association extends to five streets and not all may need speed breakers, so depending on feedback from residents we would execute the plan gradually.

Next, on our list of improvements for the area was installation of CCTV cameras at the streets. The police helped us identify locations where the cameras could be fixed. We handled it as a special project and a “CCTV group” was formed for planning and to raise funds. We requested contributions from residents and the funds flowed in.

But the COVID-19 crisis coupled with increase in prices of hardware caused a sizeable delay, and we found that we were short of funds. Finally, in September we completed installing 21 street cameras and two ANPR cameras that would focus on K.B. Dasan Road. One of the challenges in this project was providing an obstruction-free field of vision for the cameras, so we approached the AE-Parks and AE-Teynampet of the GCC for tree pruning followed by the clearing of the massive amount of debris in the streets.

Beautification is an ongoing activity for us. We found that this initiative also prevented encroachments from returning. Some of these activities were shared and co-sponsored by residents proximate to the stretch. We are also looking for institutional sponsors to speed up our plans. We have exhibited ‘Clean Zone’ boards in prominent locations at all the streets.

To communicate effectively with all the residents, we launched the SEWA Newsletter — the first issue was released by R. Nataraj, MLA.

(Bharath Srinivasan is secretary of SEWA)

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 3:35:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-lockdown-project/article32989215.ece

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