Chennai road dons new avatar

The walls of Sringeri Mutt Road in Mylapore  have been painted to give a symbolic gesture of cleanliness.
The painting of Sringeri Mutt Road was Karam Korpom’s 25th event
The painting of Sringeri Mutt Road was Karam Korpom’s 25th event

CHENNAI: With colourful paintings on the canal walls and well-kept surroundings, Sringeri Mutt Road in Mylapore has donned a new avatar from its formerly unkempt self, through the efforts of residents, traffic police, local politicians and NGOs.

Last week, the Thiruveedhi Amman Kovil Street Residents Association (TAKSRA) and the NGO Karam Korpom painted the walls on Sringeri Mutt Road with the help of locals and children from the surrounding Corporation schools. The canal wall was transformed into a rainbow-coloured display, with TAKSRA mending holes in the wall and cleaning the road to achieve this.

“This was held with our SAPS (Stop Abusing Public Spaces) programme. We identify places that have been abused and transform it by cleaning the vicinity and having some wall art. The intention of this is to sensitise local residents and students to claim ownership and responsibility for the place,” said S Shivakumar, founder trustee, Karam Korpom.

According to Dhanammal J, the principal of the Chennai Primary and High School, this is a welcome move for children studying in schools in the area. “The issue with this road is that it is slightly curved, so drivers can’t see what is on the road clearly. When there are parked vehicles, it leads to dangerous situations for pedestrians, especially children,” she said, adding that a lot of unseemly activities occur behind parked vehicles on the pavement.

Parking on the road has led to difficulties for the school as well as for residents in surrounding streets. “A lot of vehicles are parked at turnings, which can lead to a lot of accidents or damages, especially if people are not paying close attention,” said MK Ramkumar, secretary of TAKSRA. Parked vehicles have also led to traffic and congestion problems, and residents have tried to spread awareness on these issues by speaking to drivers.

Residents have also worked closely with the traffic police. A senior traffic police official explained that Sringeri Mutt Road will be a test to see if beautification can lead to road safety. Calling these measures ‘proactive or tactical urbanisation’, the official said, “This has been followed in other cities. 

We have already seen that painting helps road safety, as now vehicles are parked on the road only due to necessity. We have also asked residents to find parking in their residences to ensure optimum use of spaces.” He added that more resources have been deployed to the street to oversee the success of this initiative. “Mylapore has a lot of history and heritage, and we have been working with residents in the last few years to ensure we keep the area clean,” said R Nataraj, Mylapore MLA.

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