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Residents of colonies along Tiruchi NH-67 stretch begin indefinite fast

A large number of residents of colonies along the city stretch of the Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway (NH-67) between Ariyamangalam and Thuvakudi went on an indefinite relay fast on Sunday to highlight their demand for laying of service lanes along the 14.5 km stretch.

The agitation, organised under an umbrella organisation, Federation for Retrieval of Tiruchi-Palpannai-Thuvakudi Service Roads, comes after several years of lobbying and a series of protests staged by residents who have been dismayed by the frequent road accidents on the stretch.

Members of various residents welfare associations of colonies along the highway and representatives of trade unions participated in the fast held near Ganesa Point Bus Stop near the BHEL on Sunday.

Peace talks held by revenue officials led by the Tahsildhar at the Tiruverumbur taluk office with the federation members on the eve of the protest failed to reach an agreement.

“The officials suggested that we defer the protest. But we are firm in our resolve to continue our protest till the process of land acquisition begins. In fact, many residents want the protest to be intensified. The government should intervene and fulfil our demands,” said S. Sakthivel, one of the organisers of the federation.

Residents have been expressing frustration over the “inordinate delay” in commencement of the land acquisition process for building the service roads along the city stretch. The issue has been festering since 2009.

Although the State government had issued an order in August 2011 sanctioning ₹84.5 crore to be given towards compensation for the land to be acquired for the service lanes along the highway, the service lanes could not be laid as more funds are required as per revised estimates to acquire about 35.51 hectares of land.

The State Highways Department had suggested that the width of the service lanes could be restricted to 45 metres and the land could be acquired to that extent utilising the already sanctioned fund.

But the residents have been objecting to any move to reduce the width of the service roads from the originally planned 60 metres.


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