Highway officials to face the music for mishaps on untended road

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Highway officials to face the music for mishaps on untended road
The 25-kilometre road, connecting key commercial hubs like Paramankurichi, Meignanapuram and Pannamparai, has been poorly maintained and riddled with potholes for over 12 years.

Published: 05th September 2020 01:30 PM | Last Updated: 05th September 2020 01:30 PM | A+A A-

By Express News Service
THOOTHUKUDI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, in an order dated August 25, warned State Highways Department officials concerned of criminal prosecution and penalty, if any grievous accident took place on the Tiruchendur-Sathankulam road.

There were several claims that the 25-kilometre road, connecting key commercial hubs like Paramankurichi, Meignanapuram and Pannamparai, has been poorly maintained and riddled with potholes for over 12 years.

However, the State Highways Department, in an RTI response, said that the road was maintained till 2015. It claimed, in another query, that the road was damaged due to trucks frequently transporting overloaded sand and bluemetal. Besides, the road section from Meignanapuram to Sathankulam was damaged due to heavy rains on November 30, 2019, it added.

One advocate V Rajiv Rufus said the officials mentioned that the durability of a road was five years. Also, there were claims that the department had denied maintenance or re-laying the road, citing a proposal to convert it into a national highway.

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Abench, comprising justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam, in a case filed by advocate AAllwinAsirJebaraj of Meignanapuram seeking a direction to re-lay the road, said that a road is supposed to be laid as per the Indian Road Congress’specifications and it should be an all-weather one. Itpointed out that the department had exhibited a lack of sensitivity to the road’s condition.Also, the bench wittily dismissed the department’s response by saying that the road resembles the craters on the Moon and the Mars.

The bench ordered that until an effective re-laying work is carried out, two officials –Thoothukudidivisional engineer and the assistant divisional engineer of Tiruchendur and Sathankulam – would be fined or face criminal prosecution, if any grievous accident takes place on the road. The court also took suo motu cognisance to implead the principal secretary of Highways and Minor Ports Department to State Government in the case.

A bustling stretch

Several hundred devotees go on a foot pilgrimage, through the Tiruchendur-Sathankulam road, to the TiruchendurMuruganTemple during several festivals. An annual feast at St Paul’s Church in Meignanapuram attracts huge Christian devotees, who primarily use the road.

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TAGSMadras High Court Madurai Bench State Highways Department Tiruchendur-Sathankulam road

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