Staff Reporter

They want safe access to reach the Cauvery across highway

KULITHALAI: Public intensified their stir demanding an underpass across the National Highway 67 for safe access from the Kadambavaneswarar bathing ghat along River Cauvery intensified with a section of the public resorting to a fast here on Friday. Though they had planned a relay fast, they postponed their continued agitation after talks with the Revenue, Police and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials and not before getting an assurance from the NHAI officials that they would come up with a plausible solution by May 25.

Ever since the NHAI started the development of the NH 67 stretch between Tiruchi and Karur in 2008 and it became known that the Kulithalai bypass would make it difficult for the people to access River Cauvery from the town, agitated people or at least a section of the public, were bitterly complaining that some alternative needs to be done to help people have safe access to the river from the town.

They gave petitions to the NHAI, district administration and elected representatives seeking an underpass. However, the NHAI officials maintained that constructing an underpass at the site was technically not feasible. A few site inspections were also done to find out alternatives.

Thai Poosam fete

The public point out that the famous Thai Poosam congregation would be conducted in which thousands of people from several panchayats on either side of the river participate besides the ghat being used for obsequies by people in the town and hence assumed importance.

Representatives of 22 panchayats in Karur and Tiruchi districts have given representations to the authorities seeking an underpass at the site but little action has been forthcoming, they alleged.

Led by social activist R.C. Mamundia Pillai, youth and representatives from various political parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, elected people's representatives, advocates and public commenced a relay fast in front of the Taluk Office here on the Tiruchi-Karur road.

Peace meet

The officials then called the public for a peace meet in which the Kulithalai RDO S. Balasubramanian, DSP S.M. Ilango, Tahsildar Jayamoorthy, NHAI Project Manager Mohammed Nizamuddin and others participated. And after four hours of protracted negotiations, the public agreed to suspend the stir till May 25 when the NHAI officials would come up with a plausible solution. The public have cautioned that the stir would intensify if a solution was not reached and any attempt to divert the focus was undertaken.