However, problems like encroachment of public space has drawn the ire of residents here. People like Chandra Ramani, who have been living in South Mada Street for generations says, “We demolished an 80-year-old house and built apartments. We had created a slope on the platform area to enable entry of vehicles into the apartment. But now with the new walkway in place, the stretch has been completely taken over by vegetable vendors. What is the use of this facility?” she asks.
Others like Sundaravaradan too wonder about the success of the project with so much of encroachments on the streets. “Even if the vendors are shifted to a new place, I am not sure if the civic authorities can ensure that they don’t return to occupy the footpaths again.”
Meanwhile, civic authorities say that there is an ongoing enumeration drive of street vendors across the city. Also as part of the initiative of making the Mada streets clean and free of hawkers and vendors, an alternative arrangement would be made to regulate and relocate them.
The road re-laying work, which went on for nearly a year, is nearing completion. It was carried by the special projects department of the Chennai Corporation at a cost of over 4.5 crore.
“We have designed it in such a way that it would be disabled-friendly too. The pavements, especially on South Mada Streets would be provided with steel ramps after the first week of April,” said an official from the department. The pavements are 2.5 m wide in certain places and 4 m wide in others.
“The carriageway available for commuters will be 6 m on North and South Mada Streets, 7.2 m on East Mada Street and 12 m on RK Mutt Road,” the official added.
The authorities have also laid two to three underground pipes to accommodate Tangedco cables.
Any other private user or telecom companies can make use of these pipes for their connections instead of breaking open the platform every time. This is an added advantage, said the official.
Thulasiraman, a 50-year-old resident of South Mada street says, “The authorities began the project a year ago after a lot of consultations but it was interrupted on and off due to various reasons. Thanks to the efforts of our MLA R Natraj, the works were expedited and is now almost complete.”