Dr.B.R. Ambedkar finally has a stretch of road named after him.
The Madurai Corporation has named a section of the Madurai-Melur Road after the iconic Dalit leader.
Two retro-reflective boards – one near the Periyar Statue junction and the other close to the Sivaji Ganesan statue – have been installed by the corporation. However, the eight-month-old controversy over the issue has not died down.
Members of Dr. Ambedkar Advocates’ Association feel the road bearing Ambedkar’s name is not long enough. And the boards are too small.
“Our demand was to name the stretch of road between Periyar Statue and MGR statue after Dr. Ambedkar. We gave the Corporation officials enough material evidence. But now that the boards have been erected near Periyar Statue junction and Sivaji Ganesan statue, it looks like the officials have not recognised the stretch of road north of the Sivaji Ganesan statue as Dr. Ambedkar Road,” said A. Sivalingam, association member.
“The size of the board is too small to honour a tall leader, who gave the nation its Constitution,” said another member, N. Tirukumaran.
He pointed out that many narrow lanes in the city had bigger name boards.
“Though it is a victory for our struggle, identifying the national leader within a smaller stretch of road and putting up a board of smaller size looks deliberate,” he added.
The advocates association has been demanding a road in Ambedkar’s name since February this year.
The Corporation initially said that it could not put up the board without the clearance of the Highways Department.
The City Engineer (Madurai Corporation), A. Madhuram, said that the boards were erected following clearance from the Highways Department.
He denied the charge that the boards were deliberately kept small in size.
“We are ready to replace them with bigger ones in honour of the leader,” he said.