Residents of Railway Colony and other localities are piqued over the continuing stalemate on their demand for construction of an underpass across the Tiruchi-Chennai By-pass Road at the G.Corner junction, the main access route for the Golden Rock area in the city.
With neither the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) nor the Railways making any headway in getting the underpass sanctioned, residents complain that they have been forced to endure hardship everyday.
After the four-laning of the Bypass, a part of the Tiruchi-Chennai Highway NH 45, residents of Golden Rock, including employees of the Southern Railway Central Workshop inside the Railway Colony campus, have been denied direct access at the G.Corner Junction. Vehicles proceeding from TVS Tollgate can not enter Golden Rock from the by-pass and they have to take a detour of about two kilometres to go up to Senthaneerpuram, crossing over the new by-pass bridge, to take a u-turn and return to enter the Golden Rock main road from the left. Otherwise, they would have to go via the Pudukottai Highway to join the Ponmalaipatti Road, which makes for a detour of more than four to five km.
The two-way service lane, which now serves as the access route for the Golden Rock area from the TVS Tollgate Junction, is too narrow and dangerous to negotiate, residents contend.
Things have reached a stalemate after the Divisional Railway authorities, some months back, urged the NHAI to build an underpass at the junction, and offered to provide the required land for laying service roads to link the new structure. The offer came after discussions between the Divisional Railway Manager S.Subramhanyan and officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) after the closure of the main access route to Golden Rock from the Tiruchi-Chennai Bypass.
At the meeting, the NHAI officials had requested the Railway authorities to give their requirements in writing so that it could be forwarded to their (NHAI) headquarters for follow-up action. Subsequently, the Divisional Railway Manager had written to the NHAI pointing out that direct access to the Railway workshop and Railway Colony has been curtailed. The right of way was available over the past 80 years, he said and added that the closure of the way has created a lot of unrest.
The Railway Workshop had about 5,000 employees and about 3,200 residential quarters were located in the area. Raw materials for production and overhaul of wagons and overhaul of diesel/steam locomotives have to be transported through the junction. The Railway Divisional Hospital was also located there.
There were two Railway schools and three private schools in the region, it was pointed out. The Railways had sought the construction of the underpass beneath the road overbridge at the site. However, the divisional authorities had said that the Railways could not provide the funds for building the underpass as suggested by the NHAI earlier.
H. Ghouse Baig, secretary, Golden Rock Branch, Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, observed that the NHAI and the Railways should reach an agreement to build the underpass in the interest of the people.
Meanwhile, the DMK Corporation councillor representing the Railway Colony area (ward 32) G.Ramesh has urged the Railways to take steps to hand over the residential colony to the Corporation so that civic body could provide necessary civic amenities. Though the area was brought under the Corporation several years back, it was still under the maintenance of the Railways and the civic body did not have the permission to execute civic works inside the colony, which has over 1,100 houses.
Residential areas inside the colony present a pathetic scene with thick growth of bushes all around. Construction of a drinking water overhead tank had also been left unfinished. Roads inside the colony have not been re-laid since 1982-83, he said.