T.S. Shankar

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has made available Rs.27.07 crore for improving road connectivity to the tourist centres in the State.

The Highways Department has launched the initiative on a representation from the Tourism Department. The work will be executed under the Comprehensive Road Infrastructure Development Programme (CRIDP) for 2008-09.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Thursday that 17.600 km of State Highways, 53.600 km of major district roads and 10.000 km of other district roads would be covered under the CRIDP and the Tourism Department’s plans. The State government had announced in the 2008 budget that it would allot Rs.25 crore for improving infrastructure in important tourism destination.

Tourism and Culture Department Secretary V. Irai Anbu said this was an important initiative to improve connectivity to tourist spots. This would further improve the arrival of tourists. Mr. Irai Anbu said this was the major step by the Highways Department for prioritising the roads that lead to tourist destinations after getting a list from the Tourism Department.

The identified tourist spots where the widening, lane-doubling and strengthening work will be carried out are Pulicat, Hogenekkal, the Vaigam dam, Pattamangalam near Karaikudi, the stretch between Kundrakudi and Pillayarpatti, Courtallam, Vedanthangal, the Yelagiri hills, Pichavaram, the Yercaud hills, the Kolli Hills, Tharangambadi, the Palani hills, Yercaud, Udhagamandalam, and Kodaikanal.

The sources said the Highways Department would undertake road widening and strengthening at a cost of more than Rs. 905 crore during 2008-09, covering more than 820 km. The aim was to create more bus-lanes and improve more than 34 accident-prone areas.