Coimbatore

Corporation patches up accident spot

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Ignores nearby damaged road stretch on the northern end of the railway underpass at Rathinapuri

On November 16, R. Venkatesan, a Rathinapuri Murugan Nagar resident, was taking his children – two daughters and a boy – to a community toilet on the southern side of the railway track that cuts across Thayir Itteri Road.

As he entered the railway underpass on his two-wheeler, he lost balance and as the four fell on the road, his daughters came under the wheels of a lorry, said Venkatesan’s cousin V. Manickam. Initially, it was said that bins the Coimbatore Corporation had placed at the northern end of the underpass was the reason for accident.

But later it was claimed that the damaged road stretch on the northern end of the underpass, which is under construction, was the cause.

Soon after the accident, the Traffic Investigation Wing-East Police asked the civic body to fill potholes and level the uneven stretch that caused the accident. The police had also asked the civic body to remove the mud accumulated at the underpass, said a police officer.

Based on the police’s demand, the Corporation officials from the Central Zone went to the spot with earth movers and vehicles to level the accident spot.

The Corporation deployed its vehicles to level the surface that was uneven because the earth removed for the underpass construction was dumped there leaving the stretch undulated, said a Corporation official.

The Corporation left the place after working at only the northern end of the underpass and that too after the accident while the road condition at the southern side of the underpass, towards Sivananda Colony, was worse, complained Meena Loganathan, an area resident and former councillor.

She had in the past few months repeatedly petitioned the Corporation officials to level the road, the State Highways Department to complete at the earliest the underpass work and also the district administration but there was no response.

Road users found it difficult to enter and exit the underpass because of the uneven stretch on both sides, and drive on Thayir Itteri Road because it was filled with potholes.

And, of late, their difficulty had only increased because the Road saw more traffic as people avoiding the Kavundampalayam Junction on Mettupalayam used it as the alternative route, she added.

A former ruling party councillor said, on condition of anonymity, that the State Highways Department delaying the completion of the underpass work was also a reason for the accident.

Though it had completed most of the works on the carriage way in the underpass, it was yet to lay service roads on both sides of the railway track and storm water drain to convey rain water to the nearby Sanganoor Canal.

A State Highways Department official said the organisation did not maintain the underpass.

Refuting the statement, the Corporation official said the civic body had handed over the underpass construction work to the Department with the mandate to complete the work and handover the road for maintenance.

Documents available with The Hindu show that it is the State Highways Department that has taken up the underpass construction. It had started the work in October 2018 but is yet to complete and cites land acquisition as the reason for delay in completion.

Consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon said he had raised the issue at a recent Road Safety Committee meeting.

He wanted to know the reasons for not only the delay in completion of work but also levelling the damaged portions to make Thayir Itteri Road motorable.

He said unless the police investigating accidents booked the officials responsible – from the Highways Department or Coimbatore Corporation – for bad roads that caused accidents, the public would continue to suffer.

Collector K. Rajamani said he had directed the Department to complete the project at the earliest.

The delay was because of land acquisition, which the Department had addressed. Soon, it would complete the underpass, repair Thayir Itteri Road and throw it open officially for use.

(With inputs from Soundariya Preetha and Wilson George Thomas)

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 12:52:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/corporation-patches-up-accident-spot/article30100362.ece

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