Accumulation of fine sand and dust along the margins of the roads in the suburbs has been a long-neglected problem by civic officials, who, however, take special care to mop up the roads within the city limit, complain residents.
The issue is evident near Poonamallee where motorists using the stretch of Outer Ring Road and Saveetha College junction in the Chennai-Bengaluru highway are facing a torrid time. The large quantity of sand accumulated along the road shoulders is making the journey a nightmarish experience for two-wheeler riders.
Being the highway, vehicles, including buses and trucks, ply at a high speed, forcing most two-wheeler riders to the edges of the road, often leaving vehicles wobble in the sand. Besides this, the heavy vehicles kick up a cloud of dust, leaving the two-wheeler riders to ride through a haze.
“It is almost like being caught in a sandstorm. Helmets and sunglasses are of little help, and very often you are blinded with sand hitting your eyes. It is time that the civic officials consider the plight of two-wheeler riders,” said M Anwar, a resident of Vannagaram who works at Sriperumbudur.
The dusty roads also aggravate the problems for those with respiratory ailments and asthma. “The dust and the exhaust fumes of the vehicles pose a terrible problem to people like me who struggle with asthma,” said R Gomathi Shankar, a resident of Porur who travels extensively on his motorcycle on business every day.
He wondered why neither the highways authorities nor the Poonamallee Municipal officials are taking efforts to remove the sand accumulated on the roadsides.
“Almost two to three feet of the six-lane highway is covered with sand, posing a serious threat to the motorists. It only reveals the lack of concern for the lives of motorists,” he fumed.
A traffic cop posted at the junction of the highway and Pattabiram road agreed that two-wheeler riders were at the receiving end. “We had informed our senior officers about the present state of the highway and the threat it poses to the two-wheeler riders. We hope the sand would be removed soon,” the cop said.
An official from the National Highways Authority of India said that they would take steps to remove the sand along the roadside. “As the stretch falls in the toll road part of Walajahpet-Poonamallee section, it is the responsibility of the concessionaire to maintain the road in a motorable condition. We will ask the contractor to remove the sand,” the official added.
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