Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sixty years post-Independence, yet...

With the northeast monsoon setting in quite early this year, Chennai residents can expect rain in the days ahead. There was one 24 hour-long spell of heavy rain, thanks to a depression along the coast. And Chennai roads, as it happens each year, got flooded with water. Authorities stress that de-silting operations have been conducted and that this year you will not get to see floods on several roads. For that, however, we will have to wait and see. The first downpour proved the contrary.

With the construction of flyovers or over bridges in progress at various key spots in the city, travelling has become quite a nightmare. Many roads have turned one-way; this arrangement seems to be working well in one or two places. Many wonder when work on the Kathipara over-bridge, probably the largest of the bridges under construction or what might turn out to be the largest ever in Chennai once it is built, will finally end! Situated at a major junction en route the airport, work on the bridge has resulted in airport-bound travellers having to leave homes hours before flights.

While the Kathipara over-bridge, once ready for use, might ease the flow of traffic to some extent, you wonder whether the other flyovers (in T. Nagar especially) would serve a similar purpose! By the time construction is complete, the number of vehicles on the roads would be increased manifold and things might not really be all that different at all. I, like many optimists, hope that the bridges will indeed make a difference and make driving in those areas relatively easier.

Another problem that residents in some areas in the city are facing nowadays is fluctuating voltage. This has led to television sets blanking out, tubelight chokes choking up, and computers crashing. With electricity wires and cables running above ground in places, it is another nightmare for people during the monsoon when you never really know where you are putting your foot while navigating flooded roads.

Sometimes, I think whether I would in my lifetime ever get to see in Chennai good roads, clean surroundings, uninterrupted power supply, clean potable water, and, most important, the sense of discipline that has enabled other cities in the world to offer its citizens a much better quality of life.

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