Bharathidasan Road in Chennai yet to turn friendly for pedestrians
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December 05, 2023 10:48 pm | Updated December 06, 2023 12:17 pm IST - CHENNAI

Rain water stagnant in KB Dasan salai in Teynampet in Chennai on Tuesday.

Rain water stagnant in KB Dasan salai in Teynampet in Chennai on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

When Chennai announced a non-motorised transport policy around 10 years ago, Kavignar Bharathidasan Road, which connects Anna Salai with T.T.K. Road, was among the few roads chosen under a project to revamp the infrastructure for pedestrians. Arrangements were made to even make the footpaths friendly to persons with disabilities. The project received appreciation by the Union Ministry of Urban Development at that time. Today, while the footpaths in this roughly one-kilometre-long road are relatively better than many others in the city, it is nowhere close to being called a pedestrian-friendly road.

Encroachments

The road is home to Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women (popularly known by its former name S.I.E.T College), which is located close to Anna Salai. At this end of the road, the footpaths are relatively wider. However, parts of them are rendered unusable owing to encroachments, particularly at a portion where they are used for parking by a bank and a restaurant.

As one moves from Anna Salai towards T.T.K. Road, the footpaths become narrow and largely unusable at several points. With the road’s carriageway inadequate for the volume of traffic it carries, the lack of footpaths endangers the safety of pedestrians using the road.

Another key issue is waterlogging every monsoon, especially on the second half of the stretch closer to T.T.K. Road. In November 2021, when the city received heavy rain, this road and the adjacent high-income neighbourhood of Seethammal Colony were among the worst affected. Subsequently, the storm water drain network was revamped in a major way in this area, with Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, whose residence is located close by, inspecting the work at least twice.

While the situation had noticeably improved during the heavy rain brought on by Cyclone Michaung this week, the road and streets adjacent to it, like Tiruvalluvar Salai, are still prone to inundation. The road was inaccessible until Tuesday morning.

“Though storm water drains were there, pumps had to be used to remove the water in some spots. The area close to the Sub-Registrar Office on the road gets flooded whenever there is an intense spell of rain,” says K. Rajan, a resident of Tiruvalluvar Salai.

Kavignar Bharathidasan Road will soon have the distinction of having Metro Rail stations on both sides (Teynampet station on Anna Salai and the new station being built on T.T.K. Road by Chennai Metro Rail Limited). With the road expected to be used more, residents say it is high time the infrastructure improved accordingly.

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