Madurai

Traffic chaos is the norm in Tirupparankundram

Traffic snarls have become the order of the day in Tirupparankundram.

Traffic snarls have become the order of the day in Tirupparankundram.   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

Rail track accidents have not ended, despite buses entering the pilgrimage centre now

Tirupparankundram has a population of roughly 50,000, according to Census 2011.

Owing to the presence of the famous Subramaniaswamy Temple, it accommodates a floating population of even around one lakh daily during peak pilgrimage season.

For a place of such tourism significance, it has been left wanting in terms of better transportation and traffic-related infrastructure, residents opine.

Though the construction of two railway overbridges about seven years ago helped in decluttering traffic to a significant extent, they say that problems are still aplenty.

One of the key issues, pointed out by a large number of residents, is the lack of service road for the second railway overbridge connecting Tirupparankundram and Tirunagar.

M. Thiagarajan, an activist, who resides near the bridge, says that this has resulted in chaotic traffic. “Though construction of service roads on both sides was on the plan during the construction of the bridge, it was never done. The only service road is a one way, but it is seldom observed by motorists,” he alleges.

The congestion has been aggravated in the past one year after all city buses were made to come inside the pilgrim centre instead of using the bypass.

“When the buses were using the bypass, people had to cross the railway track to access the road to board buses. This resulted in a number of people getting hit by passing trains. After a prolonged fight, we made all buses to enter Tirupparankundram,” says K. Murugesan, former councillor.

S. Saravanan, an auto rickshaw driver, says that by allowing buses inside it has been made possible to considerably reduce the train accidents, it has also increased congestion.

“The only main road in Tirupparankundram is the one connecting the two bridges, which also has the only bus stop. This has become quite congested,” he says.

Mr. Thiagarajan points out that this i mainly due to the presence of encroachments along the road, mainly in and around Teppakulam.

“Demands for removal of these encroachments to widen the carriageway has been made on many occasions in the past,” he says.

An employee of the Government Hospital, speaking on anonymity, says that the only ‘108’ ambulance stationed at the hospital for catering to requests in and around Tirupparankundram finds it difficult during emergencies to negotiate the traffic on this road.

Many residents point out how a place of such importance does not have a proper bus stand.

N. Muthukumar, who drives a tourist van, says the space that was used as bus stand has now become non-functional since the construction of the two railway overbridges.

“It is mostly used as a parking lot for share autos and tourist vans,” he says.

Mr. Murugesan says that to cater to the long-term needs, a bus stand has to be constructed.

“There is land available near the Government Hospital and the Anjaneyar Temple, which is also located closer to the railway station.”

“The construction of a bus stand apart from a new parking lot for tourist vehicles will go a long way in streamlining traffic in Tirupparankundram,” he adds.

S. Thirumalaisamy, who runs a shop near the old bus stand, says that the place also lacks bus shelters. “People wait under a scorching sun, particularly near the arch, to board buses along the bypass,” he says.

Though operation of buses into Tirupparankundram has brought down the accident rate on the railway track, residents say accidents have not come to an end.

P. Annapandi, who runs a petty shop near the railway overbridge, says that accidents still happen since a number of people, mainly students, cross the railway track to board buses.

“A pedestrian subway below the railway track will help in reducing such incidents,” he feels.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:26:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/traffic-chaos-is-the-norm-in-tirupparankundram/article27133856.ece

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