It is just 7,608 sq. m. of land and acquiring it could prevent accidents on the Tambaram-Irumbuliyur stretch. But the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which completed land acquisition proceedings a few years ago, is yet to take steps to widen it. It has only to provide compensation and take physical possession. In the meanwhile, it has handed over the road to the State Highways Department for maintenance.
The stretch, which is notorious for fatal accidents, is called ‘marana munai’ (death corner). “It is very sad that this stretch of road has been termed as ‘marana munai.’ Not once have any of us expressed our objection to land acquisition for widening this bottleneck,” said G. Padmavathy, a former councillor of Tambaram Municipality.
Residents of Irumbuliyur said that losing no time, the Central and State government agencies should widen the small stretch of Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road or National Highway 45 between Tambaram and Irumbuliyur.
Aanai Panneerselvam, who lives next door to Sivasakthi Marriage Hall on GST Road, said there had been no protest in any form from people in Irumbuliyur. “We are willing to part with land for road widening. We do not want any further loss of lives due to road accidents on this stretch. Let them award the compensation at the prevailing market rates and guideline values. This is only just and fair, as similar land acquisition for road over bridge projects were made based on prevailing market rates” Mr. Panneerselvam said.
Residents pointed out that vehicles proceeding from Chengalpattu and also from Chennai Bypass travelled at breakneck speed, resulting in accidents. Further, vehicles going from Tambaram to Chengalpattu, too, travelled at great speeds. As a result, residents of Irumbuliyur, especially senior citizens found it extremely difficult to cross GST Road even at the lone signal on this stretch.
When residents had written to the Highways Department, they had been informed that the widening could not be taken up as the land belonged to the NHAI.
The Department, they were informed, could take up the widening only if the NHAI de-notified the acquisition of land. K. Manoharan, a resident of Tambaram, who works in Vandalur, said that with the departments passing the buck, more deaths would only happen on the stretch.
Sources in the Department said that even before the NHAI had initiated land acquisition proceedings, the State government had set aside Rs. 2 crore for widening the narrow road. However, the NHAI had said that this area was an approach to the bypass and that it would take up widening.