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Surprise protest forces civic officials to start repair works of damaged roads

In a move which caught the usually sluggish local body officials of Pernambut municipality by surprise, town Congress committee president G Suresh Kumar and former councillor Meeranji C Saleem have squatted on the road in the middle of the busy bazaar area, demanding that roads dug up for the Cauvery drinking water scheme two years ago, be re-laid immediately.

Surprise protest forces civic officials to start repair works of damaged roads


Speaking to DT Next, Suresh Kumar said, “The agitation was non-political in nature and when we started only Meeranji Saleem and I sat on the corner of the Bazaar and Marit streets. When locals, who were the most affected came to know why we both were sitting there, a crowd soon collected resulting in officials, including the Municipal Commissioner, rushing to the spot and ordering action after holding parleys with us.”

The issue pertains to a contractor being awarded the road relaying work two years ago in 2018. Asked why he had not undertaken the work, Meeranji Saleem said, “He is the benami of a local DMK functionary, who is unable to take up the work as he has taken up most of the local contracts.” As the bad condition of the road resulted in two-wheeler riders falling down frequently, the word of the dharna spreading resulted in a crowd, including former councillors Abdul Hameed and Afsal Basha, and People’s Welfare Seva Sangh joint secretary Govindasamy joining the agitation.

Town Youth Welfare Association secretary R Mutharasan, who was present, said, “We had agitated thrice earlier on the same issue and each time the local body officials would come to a compromise seeking time, but the work was never completed.” Elaborating, Suresh Kumar said, “Though rules stipulate that the contract can be cancelled and the contractor blacklisted if the work was not completed within six months, the municipal officials for reasons best known to themselves failed to act even after work not being completed after two years.”

Commissioner Nityanandam, who, along with municipal engineer Manoharan, held talks with the agitators, promised to undertake the work within a month and immediately rushed an earth-mover to the spot to start initial work following which the agitation was given up.

“If this time too, the local body fails to act, we plan to lock the municipal office and stage a dharna in front of the gate,” Suresh Kumar warned.

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