More than 500 residents blocked the Kommakambedu – Maragal High Road for a few hours on Friday, protesting against the inordinate delay in the relaying of the stretch. Residents said that money was sanctioned for the relaying the road — a crucial link between Chennai and areas such as Red Hills, Avadi and Tiruvallur and beyond — over a year ago.
Residents and councillors of areas such as Thamaraikuppam, Thamaraipakkam, Kannigaipair, Koduveli and Marakel blocked the stretch at Marakel resulting in traffic being thrown out of gear for nearly two hours. Immediately, a strong police contingent from Tiruvallur rushed to the spot and conducted talks with residents, convincing them to disperse peacefully. An hour later, officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) also came to the spot and told the residents that efforts would be taken to ensure that tenders are floated and accepted by prospective contractors as soon as possible and that work would begin in a month. “We have again called for a tender for the project on October 23,” said an official of NHAI.
After repeated petitions by residents and councillors from the neighbourhood, the district administration sought funds from the Centre a few years ago and a sum of Rs. 90.21 lakh was allotted under the Bharat Nirman scheme for 2012-2013. Work was expected to commence in mid-2012.
Subsequently, a series of six tenders were issued by NHAI authorities but so far, no private contractor was willing to take up the work for fear of difficulties in getting dues cleared, said officials.