Dead traffic signals in Chennai add to road risk

The traffic signal system in Chennai is in a peculiar state, where the authorities are not interested in fixing those that are not working, but are constantly adding new ones that soon stop working.

This picture of the signal on the North-bound Kodambakkam High Road adjacent the Metrowater compound tells the story quite well. It has remained in this state for more than a year, and the dangling wires in the box on the post speak eloquently.

Public investments gone to seed. The broken traffic signal at Valluvar Kottam, Chennai.

What is strange is the grand periodic announcement of the Traffic Police about video enforcement in these places. How do you enforce rules when the signal is not working? Of course, the police have an explanation which is often reproduced faithfully in the media, on why the signals are not working – the most familiar one is about road cuts damaging cables, and another more complex reason includes contractual failure.

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