Footpaths come up on road in Besant Nagar, Kalakshetra Colony residents are unimpressed

Residents point out that Greater Chennai Corporation has not delivered on its promise of constructing a pavement with paver blocks

Kalakshetra Colony Welfare Association (KCWA) cannot bring itself to give Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) a pat on the back for promptly executing a part of the footpath project on Tiger Varadachari Road in Besant Nagar. What has come up is a concrete footpath and that is not what the Association had bargained for. KCWA points out that it wanted a footpath made with paver blocks to ensure rainwater percolation.

The Association’s general secretary Shanthi Krishnan says, “Only on the slopes in front of the gates of houses, a concrete surface was necessary. Besides, the slopes near the gate and on the carriageway are longer than they should be. Further, the GCC had promised to keep the Association informed when the work started. We were not informed, and the footpaths were laid overnight.”

Reportedly, on July 20, the Bus Route Road Department of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy(ITDP) convened a meeting with Kalakshetra Colony residents to discuss the objectives of the ambitious footpath project. The project is geared to the goals of promoting non-motorised modes of transportation, encouraging walking and ensuring pedestrians’ safety. An ITDP representative is said to have showed examples of safe footpaths that have been laid by GCC in other parts of Chennai, notably those on Raman Street in T. Nagar, Commander-in-Chief Road in Egmore, and Sringeri Mutt Road in Mandaveli.

Shanthi points out that when residents made it clear that they wanted paver blocks to be laid to ensure rainwater percolation, GCC officials accepted the request.

Saucer tiles

Geetha Padmanabhan, a civic activist, says, “When we questioned the workers about the laying of concrete footpaths instead of paver blocks, they replied that the latter would sink. The inter-locking tiles footpath should be stomped in such a way that it does not sink. Besides, the GCC and ITDP officials pointed out that saucer tiles will be laid adjacent to the footpath, which we agreed to. The saucer-tiles will be laid in the area between the footpath and the carriageway. Laying of saucer tiles will ensure smooth passage of rainwater, before it reaches the recharge wells (six to seven recharge wells) on the stretch. The wells will be dug based on the contours of the surface of the carriageway and the flow of the rainwater.” The tiles will keep the curb stones in place and reduce the chances of underground cables getting exposed.

Whenever a need arises for carrying out electrical cable works, the tiles can be removed, and the cable wires put in place.

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