City Express and deluxe bus services have only limited stops. Without reducing the speed, these services could be made more useful and profitable. Buses could be classified as A, B and C categories. Each bus should have stops, skipping the next two stops. Thus passengers from all bus stops would stand to benefit. The speed need not be reduced and diesel will be saved. More number of passengers will use the buses and revenue will also increase. If the transport authorities plan in such a manner, they can make the transport corporation profitable.

N. Muthu Kamatchi,

Madurai

Unfair levy

The Madurai Corporation collects Rs.40 per half-year from each assessee towards Vaigai River Reclamation Fund while paying property tax. The renovation work is almost over but yet the levy collection goes on. Besides, it is the duty of the PWD to carry out the work in association with the Corporation through government fund without burdening the tax payers. Hence, the collection of the levy should be withdrawn forthwith.

K.R. Rajendran,

Madurai

Pat for the police

Kalmandapam near Simmakkal bridge was an eyesore. It harboured reptiles and was a haven for anti-social elements too. Shrubs and trees had grown there and people were wary of going near it. Late P. T. Palanivelrajan tried to renovate the mandapam and the adjacent causeway, but could not do so owing to many reasons.

In these circumstances, Superintendent of Police Eswaran and the special armed force deserve accolades from the public for removing the shrubs, trees and water hyacinth. Besides making repairs to the structure, they also whitewashed it.

As a permanent measure, the Collector, by utilising funds earmarked for tourism, can construct a corridor of 10 feet width around the mandapam at a lower level and provide benches for visitors to relax in the evening. Lighting facilities should also be made. As told by Mr. Eswaran to the local media, boating facility can be arranged to go to Kalmandapam when the Vaigai is in full flow.

S. N. Gurusamy,

Madurai

Chennai airport modernisation

It makes many people to read that Chennai Airport is being less preferred compared to Bangalore or Hyderabad. The reason is not far to seek. Modernisation and airport expansion were relegated due to politics among party leaders, self-centred interests of local residents, total indifference of officials and airport authorities. Successive governments opted to shelve the modernisation project as it has no worth to increase their vote bank.

Recently there was a report that there is an acute shortage of security personnel leading to delayed departure of flights. Newspapers such as The Hindu have the responsibility to create public opinion on such important issues. The news item ought to have found a place in the Front Page.

K. S. Subramanian,

Madurai

Prolong life of bridges

A brick arch bridge across the Palar between Vellore and Katpadi was demolished a few days back and in its place another new bridge is going to be constructed. In the news item, it was stated that a life of an arch bridge is only 50 years. This is a wrong notion.

The bridge across the Tamiraparani in Tirunelveli is still serving the purpose. In Madurai, an arch bridge was constructed by the British 130 years ago. Later, it was widened by removing parapet walls and constructing footpath slabs on either sides supported by RCC arches and spandrel columns.

In all the arch bridges, in the bed level, big boulders were spread as aprons on the upstream and downstream to protect the foundation during flood.

I am afraid that in the case of Palar bridge, the authorities have failed to notice the damage caused to the aprons which in turn allowed the floodwater to scour the riverbed and undermine the foundation. The foundation might have sunk which might have led to cracks on the arches. If timely repairs to the apron and proper maintenance of the arches had been done, the demolition exercise could have been avoided.

In Europe there are several arch bridges which are older than 300 years and still serving well.

Therefore, the authorities are requested to periodically check the foundations of the bridges, particularly arch bridges, and carry out necessary rectifications to the aprons and replace part of the spandrel fill by RCC slabs to prolong the life of the bridges.

M. Krishnamoorthy,

Madurai

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