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Residents of this Chennai colony go on a ‘patrol’ to keep vehicles and vendors away

With SIET Women’s College, IDFC Bank Apollo Hospitals and ICICI Bank in the same space, Seethammal Extension has been infamous for vehicles eating into the carriageway of three main roads. Vendors extend their shops into the space that belong to pedestrians. On working days, one can count not less than 80 vans and other vehicles parked from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., denying residents and their visitors any parking space.

Partly to address this issue, we formed SEWA — which stands for Seethammal Extension Welfare Association — four month ago. Our main objective was to find solutions to problems such as illegal parking and proliferation of make-shift shops.

The vans had damaged all the platforms and as a result, pedestrians had to walk on the road. Van drivers and their associates were also indulging in unlawful activities. While some institutions didn’t have sufficient parking space for their employees, the rest of them preferred congesting the roads for the sake of convenience, despite the availability of private parking space.

We sought help of MLA R. Nataraj, Corporation officials and the police to bring some calm to our locality. To start with, we spruced up our area and got permission to install bright planters at strategic places to reduce traffic. We went from door to door to initiate source segregation of waste. After a recent traffic meet, we suggested that haphazard parking at First Main Road be cleared. We are glad that necessary action was taken. We now monitor the stretch. Every day, residents go on a “patrol” at 1.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. We call it ‘Vigil Walk’ and go as a group of four or five; this way vehicle drivers don’t get into an argument and leave the street.

So far, only the entrances of our colony have been cleared of encroachments. We are next working on retrieving the side walks with funds pooled in by residents. Udaya Kumar, assistant engineer, Street Lights, GCC Teynampet, got his team to prune the trees, which improved the illumination at nights.

Special mention to Kothandaraman, secretary to MLA; Myilvahanan, DCP; Myilsamy, Traffic Police Inspector and engineers of the zone who supported us.

We are next looking at installing CCTV cameras on all streets and planting saplings.

(Raj Perumal is president of SEWA)

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 10:29:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/residents-of-this-chennai-colony-go-on-a-patrol-to-keep-vehicles-and-vendors-away/article31008945.ece

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