Vellakoil Saminathan, Minister for Highways and Minor Ports: “ Having taken into consideration the increase in traffic on East Coast Road, the government is taking steps to widen the road. As the area up to Akkarai is heavily populated, it will become a 100 feet road and from there till Mamallapuram it will be a four-lane facility. The work is expected to begin before the end of the year. Meanwhile, work on strengthening bridges and culverts on ECR has begun. A weekly review of accidents on the road is being done and preventive measures have been taken up. In the next phase, we will consider widening the entire stretch upto Mahabalipuram.”

P.N. Venkatakrishnan, Palavakkam resident: “In village panchayats along ECR, there is hardly any facility. We have to go in search of them. There are, thankfully, some ward members who reach out to the people, otherwise life would be terrible for us. We have to knock at the doors of the panchayat administration many times for clearing garbage from our localities. We are at the mercy of the panchayat to get adequate drinking water at regular intervals. Streets in some backward pockets have remained in a poor state for years. A toll is collected from for using ECR, but it lacks streetlights – a huge risk for motorists.”

V. Ettiyappan, president, Neelangarai village panchayat:“There has been a lot of development activity ever since East Coast Road was widened. Yes, there will be some loss of property when further widening is take up, but it will help in reducing congestion and hopefully, a reduction in the accident rate. Nevertheless, the widening of ECR and its potential to give tourism a boost hardly means anything for village panchayats along it. There has been not any notable or visible increase in revenue to the panchayats as a spin-off of ECR's development or widening. Our only source of revenue continues to be taxes and user charges from residents, with diminishing financial assistance from the government.”

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