Valasaravakkam roads a shambles

CHENNAI DEC. 7. The decision of the Highways department to provide Arcot Road a fresh bitumen top might come as good news to harassed road-users, but there are other residents of Valasaravakkam who wonder if any government agency will come forward at least to create a semblance of motorable streets in their localities.

The city roads were left battered after the recent rain and Valasaravakkam was no exception. The stretch of the arterial Arcot Road from Alwarthirunagar and beyond Valasaravakkam has been completely stripped of metal top and motoring has become a nightmare.

Residents have no alternative but to curse their fate and put up with the inconvenience. Every lane and by-lane in the immediate city suburb on the West resembles a war zone with pits more than one-foot deep.

The Town Panchayat is going ahead with its underground drainage project and the earth was dug from the centre of the streets for laying pipelines. However, after the pipelines were laid, no effort was taken to fill the open gaps and protruding manhole covers compound the problem.

The problem is most acute in SVP Nagar, Kamakoti Nagar, Choudhry Nagar, among other localities. The situation has gone from bad to worse after the rain, residents say and wonder why the authorities did not have the foresight to take even the slightest of precautionary measures before the onset of the monsoon.

The residents consider themselves city dwellers, but their localities are sharply different from the city, where the Chennai Corporation has been called to account over the condition of roads.

The by-lanes branching off from the Arcot Road are a motorist's nightmare. Pedestrians have to be extra careful while walking across the streets, lest they develop sprains.

Cars and even two-wheelers get stuck in the slush and struggle to make the trip to the city everyday.

The bad condition of roads has had a telling effect on water supply.

The residents said water was supplied through Metrowater tankers and stored in tanks placed in street corners. But of late, citing the bad condition of roads, the tanker drivers had stopped entering the localities. As a result, residents had to trek quite a distance to fetch water. Also, autorickshaw drivers are demanding very high fare, compounding the misery of the residents.

Authorities stressed that steps were being taken to set right the problems, which, they said, were caused by the monsoon.

The panchayat president, V. Mathiazhagan, said road repair works had commenced. He said Rs. 1 crore would be spent for the purpose and all the pending works completed by the end of January next year.

For now, the roads of Valasaravakkam exist only in name, giving a shocking picture of neglect by the panchayat for years on end.

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