VANIYAMBADI: Traffic on the 22-km stretch single lane carriageway connecting Jamunamaruthur on Jawadhu Hills and Alangayam in the foothills near Vaniyambadi was affected due to a day-long road blockade agitation by residents of Naikanoor panchayat demanding widening of the road on Friday.
It is a long pending demand of residents to widen the single lane road to the hills. “Though a new road was laid it resulted in increase in height leading to accidents when smaller vehicles had to give way to oncoming heavy vehicles,” said Tirupathi, husband of Naikanoor village panchayat president Mekala.
Jothilingam, husband of panchayat vice president Tamilselvi said, “Both Mekala and Tamilsevli participated in the agitation demanding widening of the road.”
Elaborating, Tirupathi said, “Only a distance of 3 km of the stretch needs to be widened. Though we were assured that our demand will be fulfilled, there has been no action till date. After a recent accident on the stretch, locals got agitated and decided to hold a road blockade protest.”
However, contrary to earlier agitations on the same issue, this time, locals put up a shamiana right across the road and also detained a TNSTC bus passing through the route.
The agitators refused to budge when police and revenue officials tried to pacify them. Speaking about this issue, Alangayam panchayat union vice chairman P Boopalan said “Naikanoor residents are wantonly politicising the issue as the leaders belong to the AIADMK. PWD Minister EV Velu recently announced that the state government had sanctioned Rs 48 lakh for widening the road. Forest officials had also confirmed this. So, what is the need for the agitation now?”
The agitation ended only after Vaniyambadi AIADMK MLA G Senthil Kumar arrived and held talks with the agitators. “They dispersed after he promised that action would be initiated within a week,” a participant told DT Next.