Holding the (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) DMK government responsible for the deaths of over 200 motorists and pedestrians caused by frequent accidents along the 15-km Palpannai-Thuvakkudi stretch of the National Highway – 67 since the start of the Tiruchi-Thanjavur four-laning project, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leaders on Monday charged the Chief Minister with stalling the laying of service lanes along the stretch at the instance of a party industrialist.

Addressing a demonstration of party cadres here on Monday, the AIADMK leaders slammed the DMK for initially downgrading the plan of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to six-lane the 15-km stretch in recognition of the requirements of the public sector giant BHEL and hundreds of its ancillary industries, and subsequently doing away with the laying of service roads under the already downgraded four-laning project since the buildings owned by the industrialist will have to be demolished.

Absence of service lanes along the stretch has affected the several thousands of government employees, BHEL employees and school and college students living in hundreds of residential localities on either sides, the former Fisheries Minister and AIADMK MLA D. Jayakumar said, pointing out that when in power the AIADMK never interfered with developmental projects benefitting people. People will never forgive the lack of concern of the government on the issue despite the continuing deaths, he said.

Likewise, the DMK has chosen to ignore the expansion of the overbridge close to the Railway Junction even after the Centre’s sanction of 50 per cent of the costs. It was a bottleneck for the ever-escalating density of vehicles plying between Tiruchi and Chennai, Pudukkottai and Thanjavur, Mr. Jayakumar said.

The Tiruchi Lok Sabha MP P. Kumar wondered why the Tiruchi district administration was dragging its feet on acquiring the required land for service lanes along the 15-km stretch, when the Thanjavur district administration had acted promptly. Service-lanes had been laid from Thanjavur to Thuvakkudi, he said.

Former State ministers including Annavi, Saroja, Ku.Pa. Krishnan, former MLAS, party functionaries, and representatives of the federation of residents’ associations along the Palpannai-Thuvakkudi stretch took part in the well-attended demonstration carried out in front of the district collectorate, under heavy police security.