M Elumalai, president of Ariathur panchayat, told DT Next, “the road was laid less than two months ago at a cost of Rs 3 crore. But the tar become churned and the stretch has become unusable now. It could not withstand movement of heavy vehicles even for a little over a month. As neither officials nor the contractor responded to our repeated requests for repair of the stretch, we lodged a complaint with the Kalambur police.”
What annoyed residents was that the road itself was laid only after series of agitations for more than a decade, which was a key connect between Ariathur and Karikathur.
Locals blocked the Vadmathimangalam Road on Monday resulting in Kalambur police initially trying to pacify them. “When police realised that we were firm in our demand, they assured to talk to the officials concerned,” Elumalai said.
However, enquiries revealed that the contractor approached him and suggested that he would undertake patch work in the affected parts. But Elumalai and villagers were adamant and insisted that the entire stretch should be re-laid. “We plan to agitate again on Saturday if the contractor fails to heed our demand,” he said, adding, “the road was just laid on mud and that is why it came apart when lorries commuted through the section.” When asked if the issue was conveyed to Collector KS Kandasamy, Elumalai said he had sent him a complaint on WhatsApp. What raised many an eyebrow is that a panchayat president belonging to the ruling party has thought it fit to take up cudgels on behalf of getting some good work done. “Villagers are going all out to support him as his agitation is for a facility which the entire population will use,” an official added.