Chennai

It was a lifeline for Rail Nagar residents

People fish near the Rail Nagar road bridge as the Cooum river is overflows due to heavy rain —Photo : K. Pichumani  

On Friday, a group of youngsters descended on the Rail Nagar road bridge in Mogappair that broke during the recent rains, to indulge their passion for fishing.

With excess water from the Cooum submerging a portion of it, this broken road bridge was ideal for these youngsters from Padi Kuppam to fish. They had a great time until the police asked them to leave.

But for hundreds of residents though, this broken bridge does not signify fun. They greeted the news of the bridge breaking with shock and sadness.

It had been making the lives of residents of a dozen high-rises along the earthen bund of the river easy.

For them, this 100-metre road bridge provided connectivity to Poonamallee High Road. Drivers of school vans use the bridge. Senior citizens go on their daily walks on the bridge. Women reach Koyambedu Wholesale Market in minutes using the bridge. People who are ill are shifted to hospitals in less than no time, thanks to the bridge.

“All of that crashed on Sunday — November 15 — when a portion of the bridge caved in. It also submerged New Baby Canal near the bridge that was built to discharge excess water. As schools and colleges were closed since last week, the impact of the loss has not yet being fully realised. Once the institutions reopen on Monday, there will be chaos in the neighbourhood,” said K. Rajendran, president, GT Cholayil Residents and Owners Welfare Association.



For a week now, residents of the area, including those in the Yuga Kalpataru apartment complex, which has 210 families and Rail Nagar, the oldest and biggest apartment complex in the neighbourhood with 400 families, have been taking a detour by using a new bridge in Golden George Nagar, around 2 km away. Some travel longer to reach PH Road via Tirumangalam, a distance of 5 km. “Imagine the plight of senior citizens, school children and working women,” said C. Indira, a parent in Yuga Kalpataru flats.

After waiting for few days, A.N. Venkatraman of Yuga Kalpataru Owners Welfare Association on Thursday sent a complaint to the Chief Minister’s Special Cell, which responded with “processing”.

Civil officials of ward 93 of Zone-7 (Ambattur) of Corporation and Public Works Department (PWD) officials inspected the damaged bridge every day since it broke, but residents said there was no word on construction of a new one once water receded.

“Police from Koyambedu and Nolambur should be commended as at least four policemen with patrol vehicles have been guarding the spot round the clock since last Sunday,” said S. Chandrasekar, a resident.



The 100-metre road bridge, now broken, provided connectivity to Poonamallee High Road




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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 5:20:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/it-was-a-lifeline-for-rail-nagar-residents/article7902147.ece

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