De-congesting Charing Cross, Ooty

De-congesting Charing Cross, Ooty

Dharmalingam Venugopal

Nilgiri Documentation Centre

While the District Police administration is doing its best to decongest the traffic in Ooty town, lasting solutions can come only if bold and long term decision are made.

 An overview of the Charing Cross in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, which is a road junction with markets around it, is seen through the lens of the Times of India photographer on February 21, 1940.

Charing Cross in 1940 [Photo from the net – Times of India]

In 1945 – photo from  –

Ooty bears the bulk of the 25 lakh tourist traffic coming into Nilgiris annually. In the course of the next 5 or  10 years the traffic is likely to doubt itself  to 50 lakhs.
To cope with such huge influx much more than traffic diversion and extra parking spaces is needed.
Ooty needs a integrated traffic plan at every important traffic junctions like Charing cross, main bus stand and market area.Charing cross deserves to be  taken  up first because of  its tourist importance.
The Adam’s fountain,  Gandhi statue and Periyar memorial were installed there to respect these leaders at  a time when Charing cross area had little traffic. Today they are hardly noticed by the locals or tourists amongst the congestion and traffic. There are no particular significance for these monuments  to be there.  For instance, the Adam fountain was first near the market, then near the Colectorate before being shifted the present spot.

 With due consultations with the public, parties and government, these monuments can be shifted to the adjacent triangular public park on the  Church hill road. There is ample space in the park to install them. The park which is now closed can be made a lively tourist spot.
The Uzhavar Sandai can be shifted to the nearby SHG shopping complex on the college road.
The space gained can be properly planned for traffic management and parking which can serve the area for at least the next 10 years.
But this is not enough. Charing cross must be served by a circular flyover which can distribute the traffic to the four roads which emanate from it.
There is enough space for a sleek flyover which can be tastefully done as a tourist attraction. In fact, the name Charing cross denotes a central point from where major roads branch off.
The Ooty traffic plan can be part of the investments as part of the 150th anniversary of the Ooty Municipality under the new Special Area Development  Programme.

[ Ooty – Othegei to Badagas is the main marketing center for many Badaga Villages of Mekku Naadu and Thodha Naadu Semays. The population of Ooty consists a considerable number of Badagas. – Wg Cdr JP]


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