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Tribals rue official apathy on road infra
The death of a tribal woman after child birth a few days ago has once again highlighted the lack of proper roads to the three village panchayats nestled in Jawadhu Hills abutting the Anaicut panchayat union in Vellore district. It may be noted that the village panchayats have a population of nearly 20,000 people.
Tamila (21) wife of Karthi of Periathattankuttai village near Odugathur was brought by a “dolie” – a cloth cradle hung on a pole carried by two or more men – to the PHC at Peenjamandai where medical personnel being informed earlier arrived there with an ambulance. However, the patient developed labour pain and delivered a healthy male baby before dying a few minutes later due to excess blood loss. The grieving husband used a dolie to carry his wife’s body and the infant to his native village 8 km away.
Local residents, who spoke to DT Next said “provision of roads is a long pending demand which no government in power bothered to provide.” Anaicut DMK MLA AP Nandakumar when asked said, “It’s a shame that when we spend in crores for other schemes the government is unable to spend a mere Rs 4.50 crore to lay roads to the three village panchayats.”
Asked to elaborate, he said, “the forest department at my request readied the Rs 4.50 crore scheme to lay roads, I also informed Collector SA Raman that the facility would greatly help the tribal people who now are forced to use footpaths to reach the plains for their needs. However, for reasons best known to officials, tenders were not floated for the scheme.”
While Collector Raman was unavailable for comments, former Anaicut MLA M Kalaiarasu echoing Nandakumar said, “I faced a similar problem when I sought a road to Kurumalai from Oosur in the plains 4 km away. As officials delayed action, I used a JCB to blast a motorable path for vehicles which is still in use.”
Annamalai (34) of Kuruvimalai said, “The rough road created by Kalaiarasu in 2011 is still in use, but residents of Nechimedu three kilometres further away and Vallakalmalai, a kilometre beyond still had to use dolies as there were no roads.” However, officials said the problem with laying road in hills was that “the steep incline prevents bulldozers and road rollers to move up the gradient.”