Work on underground sewer system began a decade ago
Roads in Karur, a textile export hub that earns about Rs. 4,500 crore as foreign exchange annually, are wallowing in continued neglect.
Major works such as underground sewerage system and drinking water supply augmentation system that continued beyond their stipulated completion period have ensured that the core areas of the town had only bad roads over the past decade.
The civic authorities say they can do nothing because the State government agencies would grant funds for laying roads only after the completion of the drinking water supply augmentation project until which the public have to endure the trouble.
The length of the roads in Karur town is 330 km of which around 200 km are bitumen topped while 80 km is earthen road and cement concrete road accounts for 44 km.
About a decade ago, work on establishing an underground sewer system for the town areas commenced in right earnest.
The work started to crawl once the initial hullabaloo was over. While the digging up of several streets at a time left the public in despair, the officials were hard-pressed to sensitise the public to the then newly emerging “consumer’s contribution” model that mandated some payment by the user public.
All those issues added up to delay in completing the sewerage system that finally got over just a few years ago.
Then came the strident demand for augmenting water supply in the parched areas of Karur that is notorious for long intervals between water supply dates, sometimes extending to 20 days.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, during her Assembly election campaign, promised to shore up water supply in the town and she obliged promptly sanctioning an elaborate Rs. 68 crore water supply augmentation scheme to feed dry areas in the town.
Work on the scheme is going on but despite the repeated pressure of Transport Minister V. Senthil Balaji, it seems the work would take another six months for completion.
Meanwhile, citizens concerned were demanding that the roads dug up to lay the sewer lines and drinking water mains be repaired immediately.
“For any industrial activity to thrive, the logistics infrastructure must be wholesome but Karur definitely lacks roads to meet the international standards it has set in global home textile market,” says activist S. Gopalan, a septuagenarian textile exporter based in Karur.
Movement of goods through the narrow and crowded streets and bylanes of Sengunthapuram, Ramakrishnapuram, Jawahar Bazar, Vengamedu, and Pasupathypalayam is hampered greatly leading to traffic snarls involving all category of vehicles. Roads in all those areas are in bad condition for most of the past decade.
Despite the growing demand from the public for new roads, sources in the Karur Municipality discount such a possibility as the funding agencies stipulate completion of infrastructure development works under progress as a precursor to sanction of funds for road laying. That means the roads in Karur might remain scarred for a pretty reasonable time to come.