In a bizarre move, the Corporation has granted clearance to telecom operators and government line agencies to dig up 2,000 km of roads after the city began experiencing pre-monsoon showers.

Simultaneously, ahead of the northeast monsoon, the Corporation has started relaying 4,000 roads. However, giving in to pressure from telecom companies, it has granted permission to dig hundreds of roads as well, sources said.

Many of the 471 bus routes and 33,000 interior roads are expected to be dug up in a few weeks. “We received requests for digging at least 2,000 km of roads in the city and the permission has been granted,” said a civic official.

Residents have reported difficulty along roads such as Munusamy Salai in K.K. Nagar. “Patients have to jump the trench to get to a hospital,” said a local resident.

At Cathedral Road, motorists are having difficulty driving through the dug up portion. Mylapore residents also complain of road digging.

Every year, the Chennai Corporation sets September 30 as the deadline for completing projects that involve digging of roads to prepare for the monsoon. According to sources, this year, telecom companies pressurised the Corporation for permission to lay optical fibre cables, pointing to the rising demand for smart homes in localities such as Adyar, Poes Garden, Nungambakkam, Anna Nagar and T.Nagar.

“More residents are expected to opt for smart homes, using mobiles to control home appliances. This requires high-speed connectivity. So we are changing copper cables to fibre optic cables,” he said.

“We have paid money for the restoration of the roads that have been dug up. The charges for restoration range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 35,000. It is for the Corporation to restore the roads,” said the official. Former AIADMK floor leader V. Sukumar Babu said many telecom companies had dug up roads without obtaining permission.

“The traffic police have warned that fatal accidents may go up. We will restore the roads before the monsoon,” said an official.

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