CHENNAI: The link bridge connecting Pallavaram railway station and the Friday market plunges into darkness after dusk due to nonfuctional streelights. The streetlights were damaged during Nivar cyclone in November 2020, but were never repaired.
"This is the primary route for residents in Zameen Pallavaram to reach Pallavaram. When I first raised the issue with Pallavaram municipality in 2020, they refused to repair it stating it was maintained by the Highways department. The Highways department in turn said it was under the municipality and," said Syed Shamsudeen, a civic-activist from Pallavaram. Syed had also submitted a petition to the CM's cell.
"It is very dangerous to use the bridge after sundown. And when it rains, the battered road becomes a nightmare. The potholes and water stagnation increases the risk of accidents," said B Divya, a resident of Zameen Pallavaram.
Even school vans and loaded trucks cross the poorly-maintained bridge daily. Residents lament that the area has seen no development even after it was merged with the corporation. The light poles are in a good condition. All the officials need to do is replace the bulbs, but they are not willing to do even that, say the residents.
Women feel unsafe while travelling on the bridge. "Since there are no lights, nobody even bothers to stop in case somebody falls or asks for help. Recently two bike-borne men followed me on the bridge and kept calling me names. I started shouting in fear, but nobody came to my rescue. I eventually drove away fast. Even police patrol is a rarity in the area," said N Priyanka, a frequent motorist along the route.
When contacted, a local corporation official said the ambiguity still persists over who has to replace the lights. "Some people in the department say the Highways department has to replace it. We have contacted Highways and will work in co-ordination with them to replace the lights," he said.