The death of a 12-year-old girl in a road accident on South Veli Street on Saturday night sparked a protest by residents of Uppu Pillai Thoppu and Kazimar Street. The residents blocked vehicular traffic on South Veli and South Marret Streets on Sunday afternoon.
The agitated residents, including women, said the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities in failing to erect speed breakers that were removed during a VIP’s visit three years back in front of the Corporation E.V.R. Nagammai Girls’ Higher Secondary school led to the accident. “Had the speed breakers were there, the girl would not have lost her life,” said one of the protestors. Scores of men and women squatted on the road with the body of the girl, N. Subeda Bargana.
She was riding pillion with her father M. Nagoor Meeran when a speeding city bus knocked down their two-wheeler. The girl died on the spot on Saturday at around 9.40 p.m. “Ever since the speed breakers were removed, nine fatal accidents have occurred in on a small stretch of South Veli Street. But the authorities have failed to take any preventive steps,” a resident, A.K. Rasooluddin, said.
The residents complained that thousands of girl students and teachers of Nagammai school have to cross the busy road every morning and evening. The South Veli Street being a one-way, vehicles tend to move at a high speed on this stretch, leading to accidents,” he said. Another resident said the traffic constable posted near the school often disappears from the spot.
“Most of the motorists do not heed to the signs of the woman police constable,” yet another resident said. A traffic signage board put up on South Veli Street to caution road users about the rumblers in front of the school stands as evidence to the presence of speed breakers in the past.
The residents also complained of allowing parking of vehicles on both sides of the road which had significantly reduced the width of the road.
Revenue Divisional Officer (Madurai) Arumuga Nainar pacified them and promised to put up speed breakers near the school. As an immediate measure the police put up steel barricades to regulate the speed of vehicles.