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Widened Ammamandapam Road still a free parking lot

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Trichy: Ammamandapam Road near Gandhi Road in Srirangam, which was widened to decongest the approach road of Arulmigu Ranganathaswamy temple and the densely-populated settlements around it, is now serving as a parking lot. Widened as a four-lane stretch to enable hassle-free movement of vehicles about four years ago, the spacious portion has been encroached by eateries, thus defeating the very purpose of widening.

Though there are three entry and exit points at Srirangam temple namely Ammamandapam Road via Mambalasalai, Gandhi Road via Thiruvanaikoil, and Kollidam Flood Bank Road via Yatri Nivas, about 75% of devotees and residents opt for Ammamandapam Road. Because of the crowd, the state highways department widened a portion of the two-lane road into four lanes for about 150 metres from Gandhi Road to EVS Street in 2015. Though the four-lane road could have been used to ensure hassle-free movement of vehicles, particularly buses heading to Rajagopuram, the widened stretch instead serve as free parking space for people coming to Srirangam police station, corporation guest house, and several eateries. "Lakhs of rupees were spent to widen the road. But the widened portion is being used as a free parking zone for eateries," S Lakshmanan, a resident of Raghavendrapuram said.

Since the two-lane Ammamandapam Road near Raghavendrapuram arch is too narrow, the vehicular flow gets choked during the peak hours while the city buses take a halt near the Rajagopuram. "We have pleaded to the highways and city corporation several times to allow vehicular movement on the widened portion but nothing has happened," an official source with Ranganathaswamy temple said.

The snarl-ups pose difficulties for the devotees from various parts of the country. Meanwhile, the highways department and the urban local body have been blaming each other for facilitating traffic on the widened stretch. While the state highways department says that Trichy City Corporation has been maintaining the widened stretch, an official source with civic body claimed that it is the state highways that is maintaining the road. The dismayed residents have said that they are going to petition the district administration to free the encroachments.

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