Normal life was thrown out of gear after the Velankanni Chamber of Commerce with the support of the public staged a blockade followed by a complete shutdown of commercial establishments, here on Monday.

The demonstrators demanded that the a two-kilometre stretch up to the Velankanni arch should be re-laid. The extreme measure of a bandh was a result of lack of administrative response after multiple talks, alleged protesters. The road came under the Department of Highways.

The Town Panchayat and the Church administration joined the protesters. The shops inside the shrine, including the Shrine canteen remained shut. Lodges and hotels were closed giving a terrible time to tourists.

Speaking to The Hindu, Thangavel, president, Velankanni Chamber of Commerce, alleged that the showdown came after the failure of five-level of talks. “The road remained in a battered state since the monsoon and we have been demanding its repair. The Town Panchayat passed resolutions and we were told by the administration that tenders had been called for the work.”

The protesters dug in on the streets entire forenoon and towards the afternoon, a decision was made to let out rooms for stranded pilgrims. The protest was called off after an assurance that works would be taken up and a JCB had been brought to site to commence preliminary work.

Juliet Arputharaj, Chairperson, Velankanni town panchayat was among the protesters.

Keywords: Velankanni arch