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Friday, September 25, 2015

move to prevent cattle from entering Beach Road - Marina !!

The entry from Beach Road through the landmark Eastern entrance to Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple is stopped – as some civil work is going on for the couple of days !! – can you imagine the reason ?

Chennai does not possess many wide roads – one of its arterial road runs along the beautiful sea coast.  The First Line beach road, a main thoroughfare of erstwhile Georgetown is named after Rajaji and is now known as Rajaji Salai.  The famed Marina beach runs from near Fort St George towards Besant Nagar, along the Bay of Bengal.   The southern side of the Beach road is now known as Kamarajar Salai, named after the man known for simplicity and integrity, Kumarasami Kamaraj, CM of Tamil Nadu during 1954–1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952–1954 and 1967–1975.

To some -: "Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures."  Cows are considered sacred.  There were hundreds of them with equal or more numbers of buffaloes.  One can find cows, buffaloes, horses and more at Triplicane and in Marina.  Much has been written about the bovine menace in the streets of Triplicane.  Stray cattle, sometimes aggressive have threatened and harmed people, especially old aged.   Recently, Corporation made arrangements providing enclosure for cattle nearer Marina ground, where the owners can tie and rest their animals, instead of letting them out on the roads.   The enclosure put up beneath the MRTS track has soil floors and fixed iron rings for tethering the cows and buffaloes.  This has reduced the no. of cattle on road, though not fully eliminated.

On the beach road, people drive mad – in the early morning when the visibility is poor, those driving – seeing the road free, tend to drive much faster.  There have been some accidents too.  Sometimes, some unruly youngsters organise illegal road-races too imperilling the other road users. 

In May 2015, I had posted on a distraught horse.  Nearer Thiruvalluvar statue (opp to Madras University Oriental research facility) saw a horse lying down on the platform, writhing in pain – could not make whether it had been hit by a passing vehicle, but was in visible pain – could not stand up … a couple of police stood guard through the few hours of ordeal … a group of youngsters stood anxiously around, trying to do whatever they thought fit (none qualified to handle an injured horse though!) – the good Samaritans provided fodder (grass), cleaned and offered a bucket of water, telephoned bluecross and by the time, the horse could muster some strength, tried to stand and fell a couple of times, later slowly stood up …  the blue cross did come and took the animal in their vehicle.  On another day, saw a cow hit by a speeding vehicle and dying.

Have on a couple occasions witnessed cows crossing slowly and gently – even observing the discipline of crossing in zebra crossing ! – but many animals, bovines and dogs do get rattled, and run helter-skelter fearing their lives and in process causing chaos.  Those driving fast could be caught unawares seeing an animal suddenly in front of them. 

For children, we used to tell – that ‘beach would remain closed during hot day time – and will be opened only in the evening’ – so that they don’t insist on being taken to sands in the day time – and enjoy the cool sea breeze and lovely ripples of Ocean in the evening.  Can the beach be kept locked, preventing entry – especially to cattle ? – perhaps, Corporation has the answer !

They are erecting civil structures that will prevent cattle from entering the beach road.  It is stated that the cattle running on to the beach road from by-lanes cause accidents – some get injured or die – some vehicle drivers and other road users too get involved in nasty accidents.  A report in Dinamalar states that works at Avvai Shanmugham salai is on at a cost of 6.5 lakhs.  Similar works – a deep pit is dug, concretised and 125 mm steel tubes are fixed having a gap of 2 inches in between. 

A cattle grid (UK English), also known as a stock grid in Australia; cattle guard in American English; and vehicle pass, Texas gate, orstock gap in the U.S. Southeast; or a cattle stop in New Zealand English – is a type of obstacle used to prevent livestock, such assheep, cattle, pigs, horses, or mules from passing along a road or railway which penetrates the fencing surrounding an enclosed piece of land or border. It consists of a depression in the road covered by a transverse grid of bars or tubes, normally made of metal and firmly fixed to the ground on either side of the depression, such that the gaps between them are wide enough for animals' legs to fall through, but sufficiently narrow not to impede a wheeled vehicle or human foot. This provides an effective barrier to animals without impeding wheeled vehicles, as the animals are reluctant to walk on the grates.

So soon, we will have a cattle-grid in Sunkuwar Street – but having one here – but none at Pycrofts road crossing and at Vivekananda house crossing – will that be of any real use ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Sept. 2015.

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