Public, traders, and residents from Sulur area in Coimbatore staged a demonstration in front of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Project Implementation Unit here on Tuesday demanding that a seven-and-a-half kilometre stretch from Kangeyampalayam to Chinthamanipudur be converted into four-lane highway to cater to the intense vehicular traffic on the Tiruchi-Coimbatore NH 67.

To buttress their demand, the public came in a cavalcade of 100-odd vehicles all the way from Sulur in Coimbatore district to Karur, culminating in the demonstration in front of the NHAI office.

In a memorandum submitted to the NHAI Project Director, the public pointed out that only the particular stretch from Kangeyampalayam to Chinthamanipudur was not being developed into a four-lane highway for which the NHAI was giving a specious reason.

Traffic snarls are frequent and long in the stretch and they give a harrowing time to the commuters during peak hours. Besides, numerous accidents involving loss of life and limbs mar the stretch, the public alleged. The continuous traffic also prohibited public from crossing the road in many areas.

The NHAI’s argument that the bypass linking Kangeyampalayam, Avinashi Road, Sathy Road, and Mettupalayam Road was being developed flies in the face of the fact that most of the traffic along the NH 67 from Sulur proceeds to Coimbatore city. The new bypass would never reduce the traffic volume on the Tiruchi-Coimbatore highway; they said to dismiss the NHAI claims.

The protestors, declaring all round political backing, demanded that the NHAI develop the particular stretch into a four lane with under pass or road overbridge structures in important junctions such as Pappampatti Pirivu and Kalangalpadhai Pirivu. The Sulur Area Tiruchi Road Development Committee, coordinating the struggle, arranged for the rally and demonstration.

Finally, the Coimbatore MP P.R. Natarajan submitted a memorandum listing the demand and its justification to the NHAI officials who assured that they would forward the request to the headquarters for consideration.

Briefing the media, Mr. Natarajan said they did not want to blame anyone or their past actions but only were interested in developing the stretch into a four-lane way for facilitating increased traffic.

We wanted the NHAI to coordinate with the State government in identifying the bottlenecks in widening the stretch and if need be residents and public along the route were even willing to allow land acquisition to complete the task.

Later this month, we would meet the Union Highways and Road Transport Minister and other officials to press our demand, Mr. Natarajan added.