The Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged a protest in Tiruvottiyur on Monday, demanding the completion of widening work on Tiruvottiyur High Road. The work has been going on for seven years now.
The protest was staged in front of the Tiruvottiyur zonal office of the Chennai Corporation.
The protestors also demanded the completion of various projects including the construction of an underground drainage network, laying of drinking water pipelines and improvement of interior roads.
R. Jayaraman, secretary of the Tiruvottiyur-Ennore area committee of the CPI (M) said that residents have been put to untold misery due to the inordinate delay in completing the work.
“Transformers and EB poles have not yet been shifted and debris from shops that were demolished several months ago still remains on the road side. The Highways Department has taken seven years to widen a 5-kilometre stretch and will continue to take more time,” he said.
Both residents and shopkeepers have been affected by this widening project. J. Ganeshkumar who runs a shop in Therady, said that he had demolished his shop twice during various stages of the widening.
“Initially, officials said the road would be 60 feet wide. Then they changed it to 66 feet. Now the government has said that if we get Metro Rail, they will require 100 feet. But if that is done, almost all the shops on this road will vanish,” he said.
Officials of the Highways Department said the widening work will be completed by the end of March next year. Out of the five kilometres the project encompasses, stormwater drain work was being carried out over 2 km. Tenders are to be called for the construction of the remaining length of stormwater drains.
Work orders for Rs. 20 lakh have been issued to a contractor to carry out repair work. The delay was due to various factors including lack of interest among contractors to take up the project initially, land acquisition and shifting of utilities, an official explained.