In an overnight development, an arterial road near Tambaram was found dug up in 30 places on Sunday morning.

Residents and shopkeepers said they witnessed no signs of work on Medavakkam (Mount-Madipakkam) Main Road all of Saturday.

The road-cut is the handiwork of a private contractor who was entrusted some maintenance job by the Pallavaram municipality. And officials of the State highways department are miffed with the damage to the road. Their permission was not sought for the work, an official said.

Using an earthmover, the stretch was dug up in at least 30 spots between Keelkattalai bus terminus and Madipakkam Koot Road.

While officials of Chennai city roads division of the highways department said the act amounted to a direct violation of norms, officials of Pallavaram municipality said it was meant to facilitate maintenance of the massive underground drainage project.

“I was in my stall till 10 p.m. on Saturday. When I returned at 5 a.m. on Sunday, the road was cut up,” said T. Chitra, a flower vendor in Keelkattalai.

According to highways department officials, who have approached the Madipakkam police station for action against those responsible for digging up the arterial road, any development work or road-cutting for building a minor bridge (culvert) cannot be carried out without their consent.

Angry officials said the stretch had undergone several repairs and maintenance works over the past years. Several crores had been spent on it, an official said.

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