Public Interest Litigation anyone?

Seems like filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is the only way to get the attention of the authorities, and to make them realize that they are accountable. Kudos to the people of T Nagar who have filed a PIL to declare the Madley Road subway, and the service roads leading off it, a ‘no parking and no vending area’. According to the article in The Hindu, two Deputy Commissioners of Police and the Chennai Corporation Commissioner have been summoned by the Madras High Court to appear before it on November 15th. This has to be a first!

Apparently the area was encroached upon by wholesale vegetable merchants who parked their lorries and trucks on the service roads around the subway impeding traffic. If questioned, their henchman apparently threatened local residents with consequences. Why didn’t the police act at such an obvious infringement of no parking violations, as well as the traffic disruptions and jams that ensued? You guessed it. Someone was getting paid off to look the other way. While the travelling public and the residents of the area suffered.

The petition also seeks to curb the functioning of the wholesale perishable market in the area as per the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Specified Commodities markets (Regulation and location) Act 1996. This was an eye opener. We do have zoning laws that have been enacted for the public good but ignored. We as citizens are not really aware of many things, and put up with enormous inconvenience and deterioration of quality of life as a result.

Take the PSBB school off Thirumalai Pillai Road in T Nagar for instance. How could a school be allowed to function in the middle of a residential block? The continuous noise, and the traffic chaos that results at school opening and closing has to be experienced to be believed. Mind you, I have nothing against the school. But the fact is, according to zoning, it shouldn’t be located where it is. How many more such instances are there in Madras (that is Chennai!)?

You have only to look around your neighbourhood afresh to realize what we are putting up with, when the public administration says you don’t have to. It seems the only way to get these corrected, and to ensure that rules and regulations are followed is to file PILs.

4 Comments so far

  1. bejharboy (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 9:20 am

    and bang in the middle of city inside Spencer Plaza, there is a TASMAC shop selling alcohol, with Bar facilities…imagine the harassment that wud ensue because of the alcohol in a public gathering space. No wonder eve teasing is rampant in Spencer Plaza

  2. prabhu (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

    This is a very sensitive issue. It will directly affect the bussiness persons(education is also a bussiness now rt?!) who are in thousands, if not more.
    Imagine a scenario of removing DAV boys and girls school,the Govt. High school, sharadha vidhyalaya, Adarsh vidhyalaya and for that matter new college which are in and arround Gopalapuram/Royapettah area. It will create a big void in the system/area. The institutions must have more than 5 thousand students on their roll.
    Worse than that is the govt, should allot lands for these institutions as they own that place. if the allotted land is some where out of city even normal citizens will jump into the protest.
    Concentrating on traders, this move will be a major set back for petty traders who are already feeling the pinch of big retailers plans. India is not a place for social reform. Atleast for this moment.
    What can be done is, no new shops or institutions should be allowed to open in residential areas. A kind of shoppin district(markets) should be created by the govt in more than one area of the city. Traders should be wooed in by giving them some concessions like tax break. One day the situation will change so much that even the traders in our local area should think about moving to those shopping districts if they have to make more money.
    I may be wrong, or my idea might be in a very generalized tone, but i feel this is the best way forward.
    Above all these, the people who feel that their residential area is spoiled by the traders there should not trade with them. Go to the market instead of going to the next door shop

  3. david (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

    Right you are Prabhu. I am not for a moment saying that we should remove what has already been passed and functioning for umpteen years. I am saying we must be vigilant in future to ensure this kind of gross violation of zoning does not take place.

  4. Muthiah (unregistered) on November 15th, 2006 @ 7:48 am

    Roads around the DAV Schools in Gopalapuram are indeed chaotic during school hours. Take for example Satyam Cinemas, it is absolutely chaotic during a big release or weekends. So I think the need of the hour is to formalize the traffic around such high traffic areas, remove encroachments around chennai and ensure all is well :-) Again, fyi, there is a TASMAC shop inside the Arihant Mall opposite to the Traders Hotel (whatz the new name?)

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