TAMIL NADU

Highways Dept. to take control of major roads

CHENNAI JULY 3. Control over some of the city's major roads has been taken away from the Chennai Corporation by the State Government, to be handed over to the State Highways Department.

A senior bureaucrat of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply (MAWS), which drafted the plan, said the transfer of control was made for ``better maintenance of the roads''. He refused to comment if that meant the Chennai Corporation was not maintaining the roads properly.

The civic body has been attracting severe criticism for the unmotorable condition of roads maintained by it and seepage of funds earmarked for roads, and the Government move comes as a confirmation of those protestations and reflects on the civic body's poor performance, residents associations said.

Seven major stretches in Chennai have been chosen to be handed over to the State Highways Department: Thiruvottiyur tollgate to Thiruvanmiyur; Gandhi Statue on Marina to Moolakadai; Santhome High Road to Virugambakkam; EVR Periyar Salai (Ripon Building) to Ambattur Industrial Estate; Sardar Patel Road (Madhya Kailash Temple) to Old Mammalapuram Road (near Lattice Bridge); Sardar Patel Road-Adyar Junction to Halda Junction; and TTK Salai (Music Academy) to Sardar Patel Road Junction.

A senior Chennai Corporation official claimed the transfer of control was done on ``trial basis''. ``If we do better, the roads might be given back to us,'' he said.

The Corporation was officially informed of the Government Order only this week, though the order was issued last month, he said.

The Acting Mayor, `Karate' R.Thiagarajan, said he had not studied the GO and thus could not comment on the issue.

The Government is in the process of transferring control to the State Highways.

According to Corporation sources, officials were upset that they were being targetted for damage caused by communication companies which were laying optical fibre cables (OFCs).

On Tuesday, the Corporation issued an ultimatum to agencies involved in digging operations to restore roads by August 14, before the advent of monsoons.

A special committee headed by the Commissioner, M.Kalaivannan, has been formed to look into the restoration works.

Among the major roads to be taken away from Corporation control are: Rajaji Salai, Santhome High Road, Greenways Road, Ennore High Road, Cathedral Road, Valluvar Kottam High Road, Haddows Road, College Road, Perambur High Road, Kodambakkam High Road, North Usman Road, Arcot Road, Vepery High Road, New Avadi Road, Sardar Patel Road, TTK Salai, Kodambakkam flyover and Kottur bridge.

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