news Sunday, June 28, 2015 - 05:30
  Khaleel Rahman, a driver, was at the wheel of a car in Chennai when suddenly at 2.15 pm last Friday the road started cracking. “We immediately got out, “ he says. One of Chennai’s arterial roads near the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital on Poonamalle High Road caved in partially that afternoon. The road was damaged due to tunnelling work for the Chennai Metro being conducted underneath. However, though there were no casualties, the car that caved in along with the portion of the road, bore the brunt of the road’s damages.  Khaleel Rahman however has no intention of taking anyone to court. “I wanted to put a case, but what will they possibly do. Working on my job itself takes enough and more time, where will I find the time to do all that", he says. More damage occurred when the car was being lifted by cranes to safety, he says. After the incident, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited(CMRL) officials swung into action and lifted the car out to safety from the large hole in the earth. The car that got stuck when part of the road caved in  In this particular case, there was no lasting damage – no injuries, no death; a stark difference from the last Metro-related incident when a four-metre long iron girder from an under-construction railway station fell on a 30-year-old biker’s helmet as he was riding along the GST road last week, immediately killing him . Two days after the incident that could have gone either way, Rahman has already put the day’s events behind him. But who takes accountability for negligence? After the incident, CMRL officials immediately swung into action, got cranes in to lift the car out and took it away for repairs. “ It’s currently in the showroom.. They said they will repair everything, he said. By late evening that Friday, the yawning hole in the road was covered up – workers placed grouting and iron sheets, while the hole itself was closed up with liquid concrete Who holds whom accountable? But who holds whom responsible in this cycle of events? The “victims”, in this case the public who need to take the time or the energy out to take on a company or even the government in this case over possible possible negligence. Traffic Ramaswamy, a well-known public activist who has over 400 PILs to his credit says that, it was very much necessary that private individuals came forward and actively took part in such situations. “People should come forward to pinpoint the officials. They should go to court,” he says. Today is the one-year anniversary of the 11- storey building in Moulivakkam in suburban Chennai which collapsed killing 61 persons and injuring 27 others. Following the devastating tragedy, Traffic Ramaswamy took on the issue and filed a petition calling for CBI investigation against not just the building owners but also government officials involved in monitoring the building’s construction. His petition is coming up before the Madras High Court in the coming months. But Ramaswamy says, that many of the affected parties have also come forward and demanded compensation for the damages caused. Referring to the Metro rail incident, he said that considering that the Metro is a public property, it was the officials in charge that had to be held responsible for the negligence. “I’ve been training people on how they should come forward and file PILs,” he says. First you send them a notice. If even after that they don’t respond in 15 days, then they can go to court, he added. “Even after seeing the papers if you don’t come forward and take steps, then you are part of the negligence, “ he says.  
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