RAMANATHAPURAM: The deplorable condition of the stretch of National Highway 49 from Madurai to Ramanathapuram has been causing concern among tourists visiting Rameswaram, an important pilgrim centre in the country.
The NH 49, which connects Rameswaram with Kottayam (with extension from Madurai), is a busy highway, as both places attract a large number of tourists. Fish and salt merchants also use this road for exporting goods from the Kochi port.
But, the bad condition of road has made the job difficult for drivers and passengers, motorists complain. Though the entire stretch from Madurai to Ramanathapuram is not motorable, the stretch from Paramakudi and Manamadurai has almost become unfit for vehicular movement. Innumerable potholes are spotted in different places. In some stretches, the black top of the road, which was laid recently, has eroded. Even buses and lorries which have better shock absorption system for easy negotiation on poor quality roads find the going difficult due to the sudden appearance of deep potholes or craters.
“It is a most difficult task to drive vehicles from Paramakudi to Madurai. I had to replace a new tyre of my car once as it was cut by a sharp and deep pothole near Parthibanur. Moreover the vehicle has been battered due to regular use on the poor road. I have spent more on maintenance than I earned,” said Murugan, a taxi driver of Ramanathapuram.
Collector T.N. Hariharan said that he received a report that a proposal was sent to National Highways seeking funds for re-laying the NH 49. Officials would be asked to expedite the process.