It’s a bliss if you spot footpaths in this part of Chennai

Many of the city’s sidewalks are invisible, for they are encroached by food stalls, and vehicles, among others. TNIE kicks off its latest series focussing on Vadapalani’s vanishing pavements

Published: 16th October 2021 06:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th October 2021 06:45 AM   |  A+A-

Encroachments and irregular vehicle parking are rampant on footpaths in Vadapalani, forcing pedestrians to walk on roads | p jawahar

Express News Service

CHENNAI: 23-year-old Sruthi* gets down the bus at Vadapalani bus stand, skips over dislodged pavements, skirts around vegetable vendors and parked vehicles, and passes through tipplers on her way home. She has to encounter this ordeal every time to reach her house, just a street away from the bus stand.

If there is one thing the whole of Vadapalani lacks, it is space for pedestrians to walk freely. “Recently, the Metro Rail started its works in the area. As a result, rubble occupies half of the road. Vegetable and fruit vendors occupy the other. There is not even an inch of space left for anybody to walk here,” says G Narayanan, a resident of the area. The Metro Rail officials, however, say they have placed barricades to warn people, and have taken frequent steps to clear the road.

Coupled with this, there are at least four TASMACs located in the neighbourhood. “From 7 pm, you can find tipplers on the road, passing lewd comments at passersby. I have even been groped once. I seldom see any police patrol in the area. It is almost impossible to walk on the streets safely at nights,” says another resident requesting anonymity. For the residents on the streets surrounding Vadapalani Metro station, cars and two-wheelers parked on either side of the streets cramp up the remaining space. Some are even parked right outside their houses, blocking the entrance.

“The Metro station does not have parking space for four-wheelers, so all cars end up in our areas. Moreover, to avoid paying high parking charges at the nearby mall, visitors there, too, park their vehicles here,” rues R Shyamala, a resident of Mannar Street. Residents also allege that a few people sit in their cars and drink in the evenings. Some women also solicit customers in the area, turning the neighbourhood increasingly unsafe. Officials from the city corporation say the encroachments have kept returning to the area even after several drives to remove them. “We will once again take action against them,” an official adds.

Recurring encroachments
Officials from the Greater Chennai Corporation stated the encroachments on footpaths keep returning to the area despite several drives being held to remove them. “We will again take action,” an official said



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