Railing put up by TN affects free movement, claims Puducherry
A railing put up by Tamil Nadu on a road here has turned out to be an irritant for Puducherry locals who claim it is affecting free movement.
According to locals in Puducherry, a railing that has been put up by the Tamil Nadu government on a road in Cuddalore blocks access to villages under Puducherry territory including Parrikalpattu which is less than one kilometre from the Collectorate here.
Situated along the Gundu Salai Road, the railing effectively prevents access to a bridge cum check dam over the River Pennaiyar which is now running full after the rains. While Gudu Salai Road falls under Tamil Nadu, villages across the river come under the Union Territory.
Locals claim that “the railing was put up by Tamil Nadu government to prevent tipplers from creating nuisance in front of the Collectorate after consuming cheap alcoholic beverages (in Puducherry villages) by crossing over the bridge.”
A senior Puducherry district authority official said, “We do not want the railing to be there.” Demanding free movement of people, he said, “It is affecting free movement of the people. We are liaising with the Cuddalore District (Tamil Nadu) authorities, the railing should go.”
However, a top Cuddalore district authority official said, “It is not a free public road at all, it is a check dam on the river,” adding, “the claim of Puducherry that it is affecting the free movement of people is misplaced”.
On claims that the railing was put up to prevent tipplers, the Cuddalore official said, “I do not want to comment about it.” As regards to representations by the people seeking removal of the barricade, he said, “Representations were influenced by the local (Puducherry territory) alcoholic beverages outlets, they want consumers from Tamil Nadu to visit them, there is no real public interest behind such requests.”
When asked about students using the facility, he said, “We have studied the issue, only very few students --some four or five-- use it occasionally. Moreover, this is not the only access for them, we don’t understand why they insist that this should be opened up.”
Another official declining to be named acknowledged that “the main purpose” of the railing was to prevent tipplers. “It (Puducherry territory) is just five minutes walk across the bridge from the Collectorate point. They consume liquor and lie on the road, the bridge and everywhere near the Collectorate, ....don’t we have other things to do other than removing drunk men from such places,” he said.
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