CHENNAI: In a bid to decongest NSC Bose Road as per the Madras High Court ruling and to provide safe passage for pedestrians, the Corporation of Chennai is set to re-lay and widen footpaths on the severely congested stretch in north Chennai.
In a resolution adopted at the Corporation Council Meet on April 30, the expenditure to relay one kilometre of footpath on either side of the road was set at Rs 4.98 crore. The grant has to be secured from the Tamil Nadu Urban Road Infrastructure Fund (TURIF).
Speaking to City Express, a civic body official said that encroachments would be removed but vendors would not be asked to relocate elsewhere. “There is a HC ruling, and the vendors are part of the community. The flower vendors, fruit vendors and push cart vendors will be relocated to one particular area on the footpath,” said an official.
When asked if this would not impede the movement of pedestrians, the official said that the footpath would be widened to five or six metres, giving ample walking area.
About the footpath dwellers on NSC Bose Road, the official said that the encroachers would be enumerated. “For those families who have been living there for long, we will make arrangements to shift them to Okkiyam Thoraipakkam Slum Board tenements,” added the official.
As a first, the relaid footpath will have rubber mould stones on top instead of granite. This is besides laying kerbs, ramps and bollards. The decision to switch over to rubber mould stones, officials said, was to cut costs. “Granite stones cost thrice as much, and it is tough to lay and equally difficult to carry out repair works,” said an official.
Besides, plans are afoot to identify parking bays along the stretch. “In a study that the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) conducted, it was found that nearly 60 per cent of pedestrians walk on the road. Identifying parking bays will help solve the crisis of parking space. As of now, we have drawn up plans to accomodate up to 400 two and four wheelers on NSC Bose Road,” an official said.
Senior Corporation officials also lobbied for cancelling trade licenses issued by the civic body to businesses that do not provide parking arrangements, in order to control haphazard parking. However, officials said that George Town and Flower Bazaar area businesses would be overlooked. “These are what one calls the old city. It is not possible to apply the restrictions here because uncontrolled and unplanned growth has already happened. It is now up to us and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to prevent the same from happening elsewhere in the future,” said a senior official.