Chennai: Broad pavements are a thing of the past in Chennai. Encroachments, illegal parking and petty footpath shops have ensured that if someone wants to take a walk, he will probably have to first head out on a vehicle to look for a walking space.
Colonel Jason Peter has been fighting a battle since he retired from the Army. The uncollected garbage on the footpath outside his house prompted him to clean the footpath all by himself. He has been actively involved in raising awareness about keeping pavements clean.
"This blue structure is nothing but a garbage collecting point right on the main road. So this pavement cannot be use by pedestrians at all. And people have to walk on the road because of this," Peter said.
On most of the main roads including popular areas like T Nagar, there is no free space for the people to walk. While the budget for road development has been hiked, there seems no plan in place to ensure pavements aren't encroached.
"I heard corporations getting 70 roads with pavements. But I would request them to not just make roads but keep them free from such encroachments. And also to keep it clean. This is government's responsibility," a resident Jason Peter said.
The need for pavements is most felt during the monsoon season. But little has changed in Chennai over the past several years. Pedestrians continue to suffer.