Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXV No. 13, October 16-31, 2015

Archives: Vol. XXV No. 13, October 16-31, 2015


And still more flyovers?

by The Editor

A recent video uploaded on Youtube went viral. A computer generated simulation, it demonstrated the space freed up on a vital New York road if everyone gave up their cars and took to alternatives such as bicycles, buses and streetcars. World over, the trend is to replace private cars on the roads. Our city, however, appears to be on a completely different trajectory. The Administration continues to pander to the interests of car owners. The latest, manifestation of this malaise is the proposal to link two failed flyovers in the T Nagar area and make a bigger and more monstrous flyover.
The Corporation of Chennai recently gave its nod for a Rs 290 crore exercise that involves the linking of the North and South Usman Roads flyovers and creating what it terms the Anna Salai-Mahalingapuram Connector. The civic body is understandably excited about its plan – it has had no large project to showcase in the last four years of its existence. The new structure, it claims, will reduce the travel time from Anna Salai to Mahalingapuram to less than two minutes – for car users of course. The  problem is that none of the local residents want any of  this flyover or even the earlier flyovers. They have, in fact, written to the Corporation demanding the demolishing of both the existing structures.
It is the contention of the residents that they had objected to the North and South Usman flyovers even at the design stage. As many as nine alternatives were proposed to residents but there were objections to each. Yet the Corporation decided to go ahead with its plans. The end result, according to the locals, is that there are huge traffic pile-ups, before, after and even on the flyovers. The Corporation concedes this and has offered to make certain structural modifications to allow for better access to the side roads when the new flyover is built. The civic body is also, for perhaps the first time, considering introducing pedestrian subways in the proposed structure.
Residents, however, contend that the new flyover will only add to their woes. The new structure will further restrict the side roads, and access lanes will become highly constricted. They fear that in the event of a fire accident, there will be no space for fire tenders to make their way to the site. Residents also point out that even with the existing flyover the space beneath and along the sides is practically unusable. Civic maintenance in these areas is also wanting, as conservancy trucks find it difficult to move about.


30 years of consumer activism

(By A Staff Reporter)

A group of professionals came together 30 years ago in Madras to form the Consumer Action Group (CAG, later renamed the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group). CAG was promoted to help the consumer take care of his interests even before the Consumer Protection Act was enacted in the country. The moving spirit behind this movement was a young lawyer, Sriram Panchu, who roped in his senior Govind Swaminadhan, Senior Advocate and former Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, to be one of the governing trustees. The initial trustees were S. Guhan (former Finance Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu), S.L.Rao (former Chairman, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission), Shyamala Nataraj (development journalist with the South India Aids Action Program) and of course Sriram Panchu.
Several months down the line, a photography exhibition was held in 1986 that highlighted the significant civic problems ordinary citizens faced in Chennai.


Know your Fort better

Elizabeth Baker’s tombstone

Before you walk into the Church of St Mary’s and admire its treasured possessions, pause for a while and look around the yard. It is paved with some of the oldest British tombstones in India. All of them rectangular, several of them broken and re-assembled like a jigsaw, these have a story of their own to tell, for some of them date to a time when St Mary’s was not yet thought of.


Will pedestrians ever get their due?

by A Special Correspondent

Come Navaratri, the four Mada Streets around the Mylapore tank brace themselves for an extra dose of chaos. Makeshift stalls selling the traditional clay dolls take over the footpaths and also a good bit of the road. Buyers come in large numbers, most of them in cars, and clog whatever space is left.


Memories of an Alwarpet road

by Meera Raghavendra Rao

My first memory of Eldam’s Road goes back to the mid-1960s when, as a bride, I accompanied my mother to visit my husband’s grandparents living in Hamsa, their house on the main road. It had a small open area in front and a larger one at the rear.