Rainy season is always nightmarish for BHEL’s ancillaries in SIDCO’s Vazhavanthankottai industrial estate and lorry operators transporting fuel from the IOCL terminal there, due to poor condition of the road.

Barring a 1.2-km segment of the road laid at the initiative of the IOCL under monitoring of District Rural Development Agency earlier this year at an expenditure of about Rs.32 lakh, under the Tamil Nadu Government’s self-sufficiency scheme, the rest of the over three kilometre stretch from the terminal to the Tiruchi-Thanjavur Highway is dotted with umpteen potholes. The entire stretch was last laid during 2006, industrialists say.

Not a day passes without transporters fretting and fuming about the pitiable condition of the road teeming with potholes. The trouble is that when water stagnates, the lorry drivers are unsure of the depth and experience frequent jolts, damaging the road further. At more than five places, the potholes have kept growing in width. Water washes away loose particles of road surface and wheel loads make the potholes deeper. As the potholes cause damage to tyres and vehicle suspensions, transport operators incur heavy maintenance costs.

According to IOCL sources, an average of 220 tanker lorries transport petrol, diesel and kerosene from the Vazhavanthankottai terminal to various outlets spread over 11 districts in the central and southern parts of the State. Each tanker lorry has a capacity to carry 12,000 litres of fuel.

Likewise, over 60 industries operating out of the SIDCO estate also transport heavy components. R.Ramar, secretary, Vazhavanthankottai Industrial Manufacturers’ Association, said the industrialists have not succeeded so far in inviting SIDCO’s attention to the problem. Even recently, the association made a representation to the SIDCO to at least carry out patch work, he said.

When contacted, a SIDCO official confirmed receipt of the proposal from the association and indicated that remedial action will be taken next month.