Better road connectivity has been ensured to forest dwellers within various reserve forest areas and on their fringes across the State to reach main towns or roads.
The State Forest Department through its Forest Engineering Division, headquartered in Tiruchi, has improved several black topped roads that were in bad shape in different locations besides improving and black topping ‘kucha’ ones – all falling within the reserve forest areas in various districts.
Utilising Rs. 20 crore funds sanctioned for this purpose, the Forest Engineering Division improved existing roads to 180 km in various locations covering 11 districts during the 2012-13 fiscal.
The road improvement works were carried out in 25 chosen stretches in Tiruchi, Dindigul, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Theni, and Tiruvannamalai districts.
In Tiruchi district, the works were completed on two stretches atop the scenic Pachamalai hills, part of the Eastern Ghats.
Existing roads between Sobanapuram and Top Sengattupatti (10 km) and from Moolakadu to Sembulichanpatti (13.1 km) were improved with black topping, say the department officials.
Maximum coverage was in Dindigul district where 27.6 km of roads were improved including a 14.8-km stretch from Moyar point to Berijam lake in Kodaikanal. The roads had been improved to such an extent to enable movement of four-wheelers as well, say the officials. Cross drain works were executed through construction of culvert, pipe culvert, or Irish bridge to ensure that there was no water-logging on the improved roads and avoid damage thereby.
Improvement of roads has paved the way for good connectivity to the forest dwellers settled in reserve forest areas to main roads and towns nearby, says an official.
The improved roads would now facilitate forest dwellers to easily take their children to schools, transport their agricultural produce to the nearby market or take the patients immediately to hospital freely without having to pass through damaged roads or kucha ones, he added.
Mandated with the task of improving roads in reserve forest areas, the Forest Engineering Division has proposed for carrying out road improvement works to a total length of 150 km this financial year.