A boost for IT sector, a nightmare for road users

CHENNAI, APRIL 28. Traffic bottlenecks lengthen during morning and evening peak hours along arterial roads, due to dug-up or badly relaid roads, but authorities seem to be in no hurry to restore the roads.

The worst affected is the Inner Ring Road, where traffic literally inches from near the Padi junction to past Kathipara junction.

Digging of roads margins for laying cables is the culprit, officials say. ``Opposite the SAF games village and a couple of other stretches, the cable layers did not cover properly. This lead to big blocks during peak hour traffic,'' said an official. It was left to the Highways Department, which maintains the road to fill up the trenches. Further down, just before Vadapalani, the scene is again the same, where the 100-feet road has been reduced to hardly a quarter of its width.

Within the city limits, though the Chennai Corporation has not been granting anymore permission for roadcuts, not many service agencies seem to have taken the advice seriously. The move, in end-March, followed widespread criticism from residents for the extensive road cuts it had allowed for laying of optical fibre cables.

Most roads continue to bear the scars after they were dug up for laying the cables. The cable-laying exercise was part of the Government's agenda to give a boost to the Information Technology sector. The three IT companies involved in laying of the cables have been digging up the city since mid-2000. Some officials and lower-level staff say that the companies' took the civic body for granted and the quality of filling work was poor in many places. ``We are drawing a lot of flak for their inefficiency,'' said an official. ``Look at many roads such as Arcot road, Sivananda Salai and TTK Road. In the name of IT, the companies have brought a bad name to the Corporation,'' says a Corporation staffer.

Arterial roads including the Anna Salai and Poonamallee, maintained by the Highways Department were not spared by the diggers. After the cable laying work was completed, the companies filled up the gaping trenches with sand. Vehicles getting stuck in the sand has become a routine affair. While four wheelers and heavy vehicles get bogged down, two wheelers face the risk of skidding.

The covered `cuts' along most roads have thrown traffic out of gear. Some roads in Alwarpet, Vadapalani, Anna Nagar and T.Nagar are turning to be a motorist's nightmare. In some parts, even smaller 40-ft roads were cut on both ends. This reduced the carriageway by more than half. For instance, the dug-up portion of the Duraiswamy road still awaits repairs.

Inside the Guindy Industrial estate, the scene is even more pathetic. Regular users allege that the roads inside the estate have not been relaid for ``many years.'' ``It has been a nightmare riding through this stretch each morning and evening with all the trucks and heavy vehicles,'' a motorist said on Friday. He said though they registered their complaints with the estate authorities no action was forthcoming.

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