Social activist leads a group calling for the NHAI to shift a proposed toll plaza on the NH 67 from Perugamani to Sirugamani

While the opposition from the public has forced the project implementation unit of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to change its decision on locating a toll plaza on the NH 67 near Perugamani, the public now want the NHAI to locate it at Sirugamani.

L. Vaithilingam, former village administrative officer and a social activist, who is leading a group of people for setting up a service road near Perugamani, told The Hindu that though the four-lane work of Tiruchi-Karur stretch on the NH 67 was taken up six years ago, it was only three months since the work started near Perugamani. “This location has been witness to a number of accidents resulting even in loss of lives,” he said.

He pointed out that M. Thangamani, project director of the NHAI, in his letter to the president of Sri Ramakrishna Kudil, Thiruparaithurai, had assured him that the expansion of the road would be taken up without affecting the buildings of the Kudil. He admitted that it had been originally proposed to acquire the land affecting Kudil buildings as per the approved alignment. However, based on the request of the Kudil authorities, the NHAI had received permission to change the alignment. Hence, the proposed acquisition for the road would be done without impacting the Kudil buildings.

Mr. Thangamani also said in the letter that the toll plaza proposed in the same location (Perugamani) would be relocated. Mr. Vaithilingam said it was heartening that the NHAI would desist from demolishing not only Sri Ramakrishna Kudil (where a number of orphaned children studied), but also Sri Ramakrishna Thapovanam, and a temple in the vicinity.

He said the public had already approached the Chief Minister’s cell seeking a service road near Thiruparaithurai, which would be of immense help not only to the students and the people, but also to the farmers tilling about 3,000 acres in and around Thiruparaithurai.

He was happy to note that the NHAI had already responded to the Chief Minister’s cell that a service road would be laid at Thiruparaithurai.

It would be ideal if the proposed toll plaza were to be set up one kilometre away from Perugamani, preferably near the Sugarcane Research Institute at Sirugamani, where a broad road existed, Mr. Vaithilingam pleaded.