Madras High Court has asked the Corporation to file a counter on a PIL

Absence of notified parking lots in Srirangam has once again come to the limelight with the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court asking the Tiruchi City Corporation to file a counter on a public interest litigation that sought the civic body to notify parking lots to accommodate tourist vehicles.

According to a rough estimate, on an average Srirangam receives about 1,000 cars, 200 buses and 150 vans from September to mid of January and April to May. On non-seasonal days, it gets 100 buses, 30 buses and around 30 vans. The number of vehicles increases on Saturdays and Sundays.

However, Srirangam that houses the famous Sri Ranganathar Temple does not have any parking lot. The Tiruchi City Corporation and the temple administration, which were supposed to provide convenient space for parking vehicles, have allowed tourist vehicles to park on road sides and streets. With pilgrims parking vehicles all along the roadsides, it has turned out to be a menace for the local residents and shopkeepers.

As per the existing traffic plan, four wheelers are barred through the main Rajagopuram. It has been in force for many years considering the narrow Sannadhi street and security threat perception. The devotees, who come by vehicles reach the Ranga Ranga Gopuram via Melur Road or Devi Theatre, thereby creating traffic snarls on West Chithirai street, East Chithrai Street and South Chithirai Street. The problem is also being felt on the neighbouring West, East and South Adayavalanjan streets, Sathara Street, Theradi Street and Thiruvallur Street too.

The devotees, who visit Srirangam, invariably visit Amma Mandapam bathing ghat to take a holy dip in the Cauvery river. On seasonal days, one can see tourist buses and vans lined up on the Amma Mandapam road from the bathing ghat to Rajagopuram. Though the road is broad when compared to other roads in the town, indiscriminate parking has shrunk the road.

“We face severe hardship due to indiscriminate parking of tourist vehicles. Though the authorities know the issue and implications well, the civic body and the temple administration have done nothing to solve it,” says M. Selvakumar, a resident of Srirangam.

While agreeing that there was no notified parking lot in Srirangam, Corporation Commissioner N. Ravichandran told The Hindu that the Corporation had allowed the tourists to park vehicles on a few broad roads. He had held discussion with the officials to find out ways and means to solve the issue. There was no sufficient space around the temple to notify a parking lot. However, it would soon file a reply with the High Court after collecting all details on existing traffic regulatory system and parking facilities. A solution would soon be found, he added.