Unfinished projects test the patience of residents
Under Smart Cities Mission of the Central government, a slew of works have been undertaken in Madurai.
On the one hand, these projects - be it renovated Periyar bus stand or multi-level parking, sprucing up Masi streets and the vicinity of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple - give some hope to the city residents that Madurai would soon join the list of cities with top notch infrastructure. On the other hand, undue delay in execution of every project has left the people exasperated, due to dug-up roads, traffic diversions, pollution and other travails. People patiently suffered without complaining, with the hope that soon they will reap the gains.
But the unfinished works across the city stand as mute witnesses to the tardy pace of every single project. It is all the more pronounced during this festival season when the whole Madurai is on a shopping spree after being let loose after the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns for so long.
Of all the projects, Smart City or otherwise, the elevated corridor on New Natham Road was the most talked about. Just when it seemed it was going at a fast clip, death of a migrant worker from Uttar Pradesh due to a mishap in August put the spanner in the works. Mechanical failure of a hydraulic jack is alleged. A probe has been ordered and the work has been suspended on the entire 7.3-km-long elevated corridor project which connects Indian Oil roundabout in the city with Chettikulam in the outskirts with ramps in between at Narayanapuram and Tiruppalai.
The project, which started in November 2018, was to have been completed in 24 months. However, the delay was first attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, as migrant workers left for home en masse since March 2020. Now, but for a small stretch on the city side, the whole road underneath the elevated corridor is in shambles.
Pell mell near mall
Work on the take-off point of the elevated corridor near Vishal de Mall on Gokhale Road has shrunk the carriage space so much so that vehicles have to queue up on two rows and wait for their turn to wriggle through the narrow space. During peak hours, it takes 15 minutes to crawl out of the mess.
As a fallout of traffic snarls, residents in Narayanapuram, Iyer Bungalow and Tiruppalai are hard-pressed to get a cab or autorickshaw as the drivers are unwilling to endure the ordeal. And it doesn’t make business sense for them.
A Corporation official said that pipelines and sewage lines have been damaged on the elevated corridor stretch.
When contacted, a National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) official told The Hindu that they have laid approach roads near Chettikulam and Oomachikulam junctions, and 70% of the work was over. Roads could not be laid near a minor bridge near Naganakulam side and a few other locations. “We will ensure that the roads are repaired before the rains start. Work on clearing debris is on. We hope to resume the work after Deepavali,” he said.
People exasperated over so many travails, for so long