A major dispute between the local people and the management of a tea estate was solved at a meeting convened by District Collector T. Bhaskaran in Wagamon on Friday. The management of the Alampilly estate has agreed to allow an eight-metre road in the estate land for the use of the public. Mr. Bhaskaran said that an agreement between the management and the local people’s representatives was signed and the management agreed to open an eight-metre road.

There have been contentions in many estates over allowing free public movement through the estate roads. As per the law, roads through the estates should be maintained by the estate management. Otherwise they should surrender the road to the Public Works Department. Many estate roads are in a pathetic condition and even vehicular services have become difficult.Moreover, the gates of the roads are manned by the security staff of the estates for protecting its property and when emergency services like ambulances are needed, it becomes difficult for the public as the gates remain closed, resulting in waste of time.

Mr Bhaskaran said that in the case of another estate at Elappara, where tension prevailed after local people opened an eight-metre road, the management had agreed informally to the demand of the public. However, it may take some more time for a final agreement to be reached as there was a police case related to the unauthorised road widening allegedly by “some persons who destroyed the property of the estate”.The crisis-ridden estates have not been able to maintain bridges and roads for quite long time, affecting even the regular bus services. It is the case of Upputhara-Elappra road, which pass through the estate of the Peerumade Tea Company, which remained closed for more than a decade.