Officials trying to dodge matter by proposing impractical plans: action council

The Action Council for Pachalam Railway Overbridge has threatened to exercise the option of negative voting in all elections in the future unless the politicians and authorities concerned address their demand for a railway overbridge without any further delay.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, action council president I.A. Ravindran and vice-president V.S. Somanathan alleged apathy by the rulers despite the people submitting numerous complaints and memoranda over the years.

Mr. Somanathan said that the presence of two railway gates within a distance of 548 metres caused a slew of problems including death of patients after getting bogged down at the railway gates while being rushed to the nearby hospital for serious ailments and traffic logjams in the area, including in the pocket roads.

“The sight of the bride and the bridegroom getting out of their vehicles after getting stuck at the railway gate and rushing to the nearby Chathiath church to avoid being late for their wedding, and scuffles that breaking out between motorists after their vehicles brush against each other in the mad rush when the gates open are common here,” Mr. Somanathan said.

He said that the corporation’s claim that it was unaware of the presence of a sketch for the proposed ROB submitted by Kitco under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and that it did not have any funds to execute it was unacceptable.

The demand of the people for the ROB that entails an investment of less than Rs.100 crore can no longer be turned down with the railway promising 50 per cent of the project cost and the PWD Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju declaring funds to the tune of Rs.1,000 crore for road development projects, he said.

The action council office bearers said that the vested interests of one or two influential persons were holding up the project. However, they declined to name the persons.

They said the former judge of the Supreme Court, V.R. Krishna Iyer, had written separate letters to the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister espousing the cause of the ROB.

Mr. Somanathan said that a proposal for an underpass discussed at a recent high level meeting convened by the Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies K.V. Thomas was untenable, considering the technology, cost and topography. Rather than sabotaging the proposal for an ROB by discussing such unfeasible projects, the authorities concerned should put in concerted efforts to address the longstanding demand of the people of the locality, they said.

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