I spent the past couple of days in Chennai.
I was really surprised to see the rapid deterioration in the environment – high level of pollution, huge traffic jams, massive construction especially that of the metro railway system leading to big difficulties in commuting for the general public, lousy unfixed roads not dissimilar to what one sees in Mumbai with potholes and craters, et al.
What happened to the neater version of Chennai which people boasted about ?
It is no longer neat either – there were big dumps of waste in several places that I travelled to in Chennai metropolitan area. It was painful to see obstruction of traffic by vehicles parked indiscriminately in heavy traffic areas, and no action being taken against the offenders. I did see police confiscating motor bikes in the Panagal Park area in T.Nagar, but not in any other place in the city.
One positive thing I did notice is the ease in crossing certain congested areas via newly constructed flyovers. Even though these flyovers were quite narrow, having these was better than what was the situation before.
But I got a feeling that the city has got “poorer” in terms of the deterioration in the quality of life and environmental degradation all across the city. The indifferent attitude of people does not help, as most Chennai folks seem more interested in what is inside their houses, not really what is at their doorsteps.
But life goes on. There seems to be more people on the streets than ever, indicating an increase in the migrant population of the city. It is obvious that the city is becoming an economic magnet for the manufacturing sector and IT industry, and it is giving a good competition to Bangalore because of its supposedly good infrastructure.
It won’t be long for the corporates to discover the problems, unless the government moves fast to fix the long list of issues facing the citizens.
24th December 2011