Reporter's Diary

Buses, passengers and residents have all been victims of the digging up of Ramakrishna Math Road, Mylapore, and St. Mary's Road. The resumption of bus services, after a long break, should have been a welcome development. But, the trail of dust kicked up by vehicles, particularly by buses, on these two roads, which have not been relaid, may well be a health hazard to those waiting at bus stops, passers-by and local residents. The condition of the roads certainly does no good to the buses, already suffering from a lack of maintenance by MTC. It is a bumpy ride for passengers. Will the civic authorities do something about it, local residents wonder.

Over the last few weeks, branches of some of the nationalised banks are not accepting cheques/demand drafts across the counter, nor are the counterfoils returned with the bank's rubber stamp or an officer's signature. C.H. Gopinatha Rao says customers are asked to drop cheques with pay-in slips into a drop box.

"It an instrument is lost, the customer may not be able to establish that the instrument was deposited in the bank. Further, in the previous system, the bank officer receiving the cheque used to point out errors for correction. Even uneducated people could be sent to deposit the instruments and get the counterfoil. The T. Nagar branch of State Bank of India has provided a machine in which the customer can deposit the cheque and get the acknowledgement automatically. It is stated that some branches of SBI will also be getting the similar facility. Before this system comes to all branches, the Reserve Bank should instruct the banks to follow the old system or any other system where the customer can get acknowledgement for depositing cheques/DDs," Mr. Gopinatha Rao adds.

After 10 p.m., the city roads turn real mean. That is, unsafe for law-abiding motorists, regular road users say. Even if the signals are `on', motorists speeding down the roads at this late hour, including arterial stretches such as Anna Salai pay scant regard to the rules. The other day, a motorcyclist turned right from Anna Salai to enter Peter's Road in line with the signal. He was lucky to escape being hit by a car speeding towards the Gemini Flyover, which jumped the signal and just managed to screech to a halt. Instead of feeling repentant, the car driver abused the motorcyclist, as others watched puzzled. With such drivers around, law-abiding motorists continue to be at the receiving end.

Art and jealousy go together, it is said. "You know the main reason for artists not uniting," asked Bharadhwaja Swamigal as he gave away awards to doll craftsmen from south India. "Jealousy. That is the reason why there are so few people when so many awards was being given," he said.

"The artisan has forever been wedded to poverty. To get out of this situation you have to make use of the current opportunities available with the Government and other organisations," the Swamiji said continuing. "The most important need for an artist is recognition and this award has been precisely given for that. On no account should it give you pride which will drag you down in no time!" he told the artisans.

Here is one civic complaint from regular users of Venkatanarayana Road, T.Nagar. A large stretch of the road has a central median without any gap. This, local residents say, is taxing children who want to cross the road from one side to reach schools on the other.

It is a common sight to see young students with bicycles trying to negotiate the stones (see picture) that serve as the central median.

(Contributed by K.T. Sangameswaran, K. Manikandan and Swahilya)

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