He denies charge saying officials show discrimination

Former Tirupparankundram MLA S.M. Seenivelu of the AIADMK has been accused of preventing the construction work of a road overbridge (ROB) connecting the Tirunelveli Highway with the southern side of Tirupparankundram.

Mr.Seenivelu, who is the rural district secretary of MGR Manram, allegedly stopped the workers from digging a pit on the highway, using an earthmover, for erecting a pier on Monday afternoon.

This was the second time that Mr.Seenivelu had stopped the work at the southern end of the 650-metre-long ROB, alleged the contract workers.

According to them, Mr.Seenivelu and his supporters first stopped the work in October when they were about to start the construction of a retaining wall at the spot where the bridge lands.

However, officials held talks with him, after which the work was completed, they said.

Sources said the work on 17 of the 19 piers – each with 180 cm diameter – had been completed. The work on only two piers on the southern side was pending. The Rs.18.30-crore project work, started in February 2011, had been scheduled to be completed in 24 months, they noted.

Mr.Seenivelu, when contacted, said he was not against the bridge, but the “discrimination” showed by a section of officials in its alignment.

“While the officials had spared 60 feet for the service road on the right side, only 30 feet have been provided on the left side. This narrow passage will only lead to accidents,” he said.

The officials were being instigated by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam functionaries, he said, adding: “They were not obeying the orders of the Highways Secretary in this matter.” Mr.Seenivelu owns a building on left side of the bridge that houses eight shops on the ground floor and a lodge on the first floor. He also runs a private two-wheeler parking lot next to it.

“Sixty per cent of the bridge work has been completed. The basic structure has come up. The work on only two piers in the mid-section is pending. It is not technically feasible to change the alignment now,” an official said.

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