Tiruchi residents are tired of complaining about the poor condition of roads that were dug up for laying pipelines for underground drainage and later levelled belatedly in a hurry.

The sight of heavy vehicles getting stuck on the loose soil over the dug-up portions has become common; leave alone the difficulties faced by the residents to use the roads after rain.

In several residential localities, the public are annoyed over periodic extension of deadline for completion of underground drainage project.

The minimum that they expect is relaying of roads at the dug-up portions then and there.

Several corporation councillors echo this grievance of the public during the monthly meetings, but to no avail.

The front tyres of a lorry were trapped in one such levelled portion at Ponnagar last week. Ironically, the lorry was carrying pipes meant for the project.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has given a golden opportunity to the people of the State interested in visiting tourist spots, by organising a special programme.

The `Christmas and New Year Holiday Bharat Darshan Tour programme.' The tour by an exclusive train would cover Hyderabad (Ramoji Film City and Golkonda Fort), Aurangabad (Ellora and Ajanta caves), Mumbai (Elephanta Caves and Goa in 11 days.

This special full-composition train will depart from Madurai on December 23 and the tourists could board the train at Dindigul, Tiruchi, Villupuram, Chennai Egmore railway stations too.

The salient features of this train are: it carries only tourists; tour manager and security for each coach; seven coaches with pantry car churning out South Indian dishes; tourist buses at all sightseeing spots, audio system in all the coaches.

The cost of the package is Rs. 5,770 per person. The people of Tiruchi could contact for further enquiries and reservation, Travel Times India over phone No. 0431 2420321, mobile: 94865 76691, says a release.

About five years after shifting the District Central Library from its own building on West Boulevard Road to a rented premises near TVS Toll Gate, the District Library Authority, it appears, has all along been clueless on how long it will have to keep shelling out Rs. 30,000 towards rent and Rs. 10,000 towards power bill every month.

The library, functioning from the first floor with 10,000 sq. ft. space was reportedly vacated for the purpose of reconstructing the age-old building at a cost of Rs. 1 crore.

However, the reckoning that the handful of tenants in the ground floor, to whom the shop portions were rented, would follow suit went awry. The plan was to occupy the ground floor and rent out the first floor after reconstruction of the building.

The tenants, instead, opted for legal recourse in a bid to stay on. For the DLA, it has meant spending more than Rs. 16 lakh towards rent alone over the five-year period.

The issue has surfaced again, since the end of the legal process is said to be in sight. The eagerness of the original owners to relocate to own place at the earliest is only understandable. Patronage for the 5,000 sq. ft rented space without proper ventilation is not only relatively muted, there is also no scope for expansion. The collection of the library may not get beyond the current extent of 1.25 lakh books, if it continues to function from the rented premises. Purchase of new books has become a casualty.

Towards transforming the vulnerable society as a catalyst for a healthy change, Tiruchi Multipurpose Social Service Society (TMSSS) recently implemented a strategy at Viralimalai to mark the World AIDS Day.

To attract the mass attention, the programmes were held right at the weekly market. Sangamam,' the society's cultural team performed street plays, folk dances and songs, stressing on the need for preventive measures of AIDS. In collaboration with the Viralimalai-based Voluntary Confidential Counselling Testing Centre (VCCTC), the society conducted a free counselling and blood screening test for the public. As it was a weekly shandy day, the programme evoked a good response from all sections of the public. The vice-chairman of Pudukottai District Panchanyat, T. Chandrasekar, inaugurated the programme. The Chairman of Viralimalai Panchayat Union, M. P. Mani, the Secretary of TMSSS, Fr. M. John Peter, offered felicitations.

M. Balaganessin,

Syed Muthahar Saqaf, R. Krishnamoorthy and S. Aishwarya in Tiruchi