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Vol. XXVIII No. 7, July 16-31, 2018

Our Readers write

T. Nagar – rethink necessary

Under the Smart City, a detailed project report is underway to construct a sky-walk between the Mambalam Railway Station and T’Nagar bus stand . A proposal to this effect was mooted as far back as in May 2015 by the Chennai Corporation at a cost of Rs. 20 crore out of its own resources. The reason cited for the construction of the sky-walk was to facilitate easy movement of people, who face extreme difficulty in navigating through ever-busy, heavily crowded Ranganathan Street/Natesan Street/Railway Border Road. But, for reason best known, it did not move further. The authorities now have taken up the project under the Smart City tag and the cost has gone upto to Rs. 32 crore.

The residents are of the opinion that the civic body must rescind further proceedings in respect of the above proposal, as it is not only costly, but an avoidable expenditure. We feel that before venturing into any new project, any government agency is supposed to look into various other alternatives and only when all avenues are exhausted should the agency think of new proposals.

In this case, we feel that the civic body does not seem to have made any attempt to study the problem in the first place. Why are people jostling for space on Ranganathan Street/Natesan Street/Railway Border Road and what is the cause for such an impasse? Well, the answer is simple. Simply put, it is because of the widespread encroachment on Ranganathan Street/Natesan Street/ Railway Border Road not only by the commercial complexes/shops but by the hawkers/vendors that the road users suffer. Who is to be blamed for this and why this is allowed to continue?

While the Corporation is duty-bound to clear the encroachment, its failure to nip it in the bud is the cause for the present gargantuan problem. Having turned a blind eye, it has now reached such a state that it has forced the civic body to look for alternatives to wriggle out the mess.

Take the case of Ranganathan Street, which is 30 feet in width. Of this, 10 feet each on either side is hijacked by the shops/commercial establishments located in the Street. Similarly, the whole of Railway Border Road is encroached upon by shopkeepers and hawkers. Instead of coming up with a sky-walk – which, over a period of time, would become another Ranganathan Street infested with encroachment – the Corporation must work hard to retrieve the public space on Ranganathan Street/Natesan Street and Railway Border Road and free them from the encroachment. Furthermore, the by-lane between Ranganathan Street and Natesan Street which could have offered the much-needed solace to the public, isallowed to rot by an inept civic body.

This apart, the plight of the residents of the nearby streets like Thukaram Street, who are now in a state of siege, will be thrown out of gear if the sky-walk were to materialise.

Under the circumstances, the Corporation must put the sky-walk proposal on the back-burner and pursue its efforts to rid the streets of all encroachments, providing hassle-free movement for all. The amount allocated for the sky-walk can be gainfully used for other projects.

T’Nagar Residents Welfare Association

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