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With no service roads, residents on warpath

In a mess: Absence of service lanes from Palpannai to Thuvakudi on Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway leads to traffic chaos.M. Moorthy

Exasperated over the frequent accidents and inordinate delay in commencing land acquisition for building service roads along the city stretch of the Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway (NH-67), the Federation for Retrieval of Tiruchi-Palpannai-Thuvakudi Service Roads, a representative body of residents’ associations, has threatened to launch an agitation again to highlight their plight.

A special meeting of the federation which took stock of the situation recently regretted that the proposal still remains in cold storage despite a series of agitations by the residents over the past years. It also expressed concern over the loss of lives in accidents, which the federation contends were caused due to the absence of the service roads on the 14-km stretch between Thuvakudi and Palpannai, over the past 10 years.

The meeting resolved to take up the issue with Tiruchi MP P. Kumar and Tiruverumbur MLA Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi again. The meeting decided to request Mr. Poyyamozhi to raise the issue in the forthcoming Assembly session.

The federation has been fighting for the construction of the service lanes on the 14.5-km stretch since 2009-10 when the NHAI took up the project to four-lane the Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway (NH-67).

Though the State government had, in August 2011, sanctioned Rs. 84.5 crore to be given towards compensation for the land to be acquired for the service lanes, the land acquisition could not be taken up because as per the revised estimates of the NHAI, Rs. 196 crore was required for laying the service lanes for a width of 60 metres.

But the State Highways Department has 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. The federation wants the State government to sanction additional funds so that the service lanes could be laid for a width of 60 metres as planned earlier.

Meanwhile, at a tripartite meeting held in February this year, NHAI officials said that the State Highways department had suggested that the service lane could be laid to a width of 45 metres in the first phase and extended to 60 metres in the second phase. Residents organisations had agreed to the suggestion.

“We had agreed hoping that the work will commence soon. But so far, there has been no forward movement,” regretted S. Sakthivel, one of the coordinators of the federation.

At the special meeting held on Sunday last, residents suggested launching a sustained agitation in various forms, including a protest in Chennai.


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