PIL petition in HC complains about utter disregard for pedestrian safety on Chennai roads

The petitioner, a driving school proprietor, says most of the pavements on the main roads in the city have been occupied either by shopkeepers or hawkers, with the pedestrians being left with little space to walk safely

Published - May 16, 2024 08:40 pm IST - CHENNAI

A pavement on Triplicane High Road that been encroached upon. Photo: File

A pavement on Triplicane High Road that been encroached upon. Photo: File | Photo Credit: S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

A public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed in the Madras High Court complained that the roads in Chennai and its suburbs had become the fiefdom of motorists and the pedestrians were treated as a non-entity, with utter disregard for the threat posed to their lives by the speeding motor vehicles.

A summer vacation Bench of Justices P.T. Asha and N. Senthilkumar on Thursday directed a government counsel to ensure that a counter affidavit was filed by the authorities concerned within two weeks. S. Devadoss Gandhi Wilson, 60, a driving school proprietor from Valasaravakkam, had filed the PIL petition.

In his affidavit, the petitioner stated that most of the pavements on the main roads in the city had been occupied either by shopkeepers or hawkers, with the pedestrians, especially senior citizens, schoolchildren, and the disabled, being left with very little space to walk safely and without any hindrance.

The petitioner also complained of many two-wheeler riders riding their vehicles on the pavements and even on the wrong side of the carriageway, much to the chagrin of pedestrians. He said the traffic police fail to take stringent action against the offenders and this emboldens them.

He added that the ongoing construction of the Phase II Project of Chennai Metro Rail project in most parts of the city had made things worse, with the pavements vanishing from city roads, and motorists being allowed to ride their two-wheelers and drive their four-wheelers freely even on spaces meant for pavements.

Highlighting the travails faced by the pedestrians as well as those who use public transport to commute, the petitioner said those who travel by government buses had to suffer from heat as well as rains because of lack of proper shelters for passengers at most of the bus stops in the city.

Making the Metropolitan Transport Corporation as well as Chennai Metro Rail Limited as respondents to his PIL petition, Mr. Wilson submitted photographs of the entire stretch of Arcot Road to substantiate the claims made by him in his affidavit.

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