The 14-km stretch of ghat road from Pachamalai hills to Top Sengattupatti lies in a worn-out state. Residents of hamlets living on the hills struggle to travel, while tourists think twice before making the trip.
The damaged stretch causes daily discomfort for travellers. While villagers depend on two-wheelers, trucks that take the road to load vegetables harvested on the hills hinder the narrow path. “Travelling on the bus is scary as it takes the sharp hairpin bend turns. The uneven roads add to the problem. The one-hour long trip is something we do not look forward to," a resident said.
The road, maintained by the forest department is ridden with potholes, causing drivers to apply the brakes several times. The person driving up the hill needs to be skilful as it is a tricky terrain. “My car’s steering box malfunctioned and it cost me ₹30,000 to fix it. I am now taking the bus to avoid these issues,” Sampath Kumar, Medical Officer in charge at Top Sengattupatti Primary Healthcare Centre told The Hindu .
Tourists who visit the hill station this time of the year are also put off by the roads. “We usually take a trip from Thuraiyur to the waterfalls on the hills. However, with the trucks taking this road, the damage only continues to increase,” S. Suresh, a tourist said.
A section of residents is of the opinion that maintenance of the road has to be entrusted with Department of Highways. “In other hill stations, the department has maintained the roads so well. We would also like the roads to be better so that tourists visit our hills and experience it,” another resident said.