Construction of bridge along Cauvery banks set to resume

Revenue authorities have completed disbursement of compensation to families displaced by the construction of the road over bridge on Oyamari Road along the right bank of the Cauvery River in the city, paving the way for the resumption of the work halted last year pending the completion of land acquisition.

Work on the project came to a halt pending the acquisition of about 5,600 square metres of patta lands on the city side. The highways department had completed 90 per cent of the work on the other side, towards Chennai Bypass Road, leaving the bridge incomplete.

Almost all families living on patta lands at Odathurai, adjacent to the existing Railway level crossing, have been handed over the compensation amount and in a few cases involving ownership disputes the money has been deposited with the court for the rightful owners to claim, sources told The Hindu.

While about 90 families were living in huts and tiled houses on patta lands in the locality, there were also about 30 to 40 houses on encroached lands. However, all families displaced by the project have been offered houses at Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board tenements in Nagamangalam.

But only a few families were planning to move to the tenements. Most of the families have been contending that they could not move to the outskirts of the city as it would affect their livelihood and studies of their children. The families, most of them daily wage labourers in the unorganised sector, have for the past few years entertaining hopes of getting given alternative lands within the city.

“We got the compensation cheque recently and have been told to vacate within the next few days. Though we had sought an alternative site close by, the authorities have not agreed to it. Most of the families are scouting for houses for rent in the neighbourhood. Some have managed to get while several others are still hunting. Many do not plan to go to Nagamangalam,” says Vadivelu, a fruit vendor, living at Odathurai. He has since managed to find a house for rent and plans to relocate shortly.

The authorities are expected to take possession of the acquired lands within the next few days. Once the site is taken over, shifting of utilities such as drinking water and underground drains would begin.

The highways department is expected to complete the remaining portion of the unfinished bridge within eight to 10 months.

The bridge was sanctioned at a cost of Rs.28.50 crore to connect the Chinthamani area of the city with Chennai Bypass Road, thereby providing quick and easy accessibility to the four-lane Tiruchi-Chennai highway from the city.

The four-lane bridge would run for a distance of 640 metres. Service roads, each 5.5 metres wide, are to be built. The project was scheduled to be completed by March last year.