Civic projects: more misses than hits

The year that has passed has not been good in terms of civic and infrastructure development in Tiruchi, with some of the projects and proposals suffering setbacks or remaining in a state of limbo.

While the pandemic did impact on the progress of some projects, the district administration and Tiruchi Corporation were not able to push through many of the long expected development initiatives such as establishment of an integrated bus stand, shifting of wholesale traders of Gandhi Market, building service lanes along the city stretch of Tiruchi-Thanjavur Highway and pending works on Junction Road Overbridge.

Most notable among the setbacks for the district administration was its inability to make the Kallikudi Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers, established at an investment of over ₹77 crore, fully functional despite repeated attempts.

In the absence of political will, officials’ attempts to shift the wholesale traders of the Gandhi Market to the new market failed as the traders remained stubborn and succeeded in entrenching themselves again at the old market after it was reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

In an election year, no forward movement on the shifting is expected at least over the next few months.

The Corporation’s earlier plan of redeveloping Gandhi Market under the Smart City Mission has also fallen by the wayside amid the controversies that plagued the shifting of the traders.

Despite the 10-year stint, the AIADMK government has still not been able to identify a site for the proposed integrated bus stand in the city, making it another most notable failure for the authorities. The proposal that has been hanging fire for nearly three decades and despite an assurance of the Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami, the proposal is yet to see the light of the day.

“t is pathetic that proposals such as establishing an integrated bus stand and the shifting of the wholesale traders of Gandhi Market have been hanging fire for so long. The land acquisition for laying the service lanes on the city stretch of Tiruchi-Thanjavur Highway is also progressing at a snail’s pace,” observed K. Sakthivel, coordinator, Federation of Tiruchi City Residents Welfare Associations.

“We are compiling a list of such major pending projects and issues which need to brought into focus in the public domain in the run up to the elections,” said Mr.Sakthivel.

The list already has 16 issues and is to be consolidated in consultation with federation members.

Pointing out to increasing traffic congestion in the city, especially in places such as Vayalur Road, Thanjavur Road and parts of the city, Mr. Sakthivel wondered why a holistic approach was not adopted for development of the city.

While the lack of progress in such big ticket project come in for criticism from activists, for the common man inadequacies in civic amenities remain the biggest concern.

“Many arterial roads in the city are in tatters; interior roads in residential colonies are still worse. At the slightest of rain, many residential colonies and houses are still flooded with rain water mixed with sewage. Let the civic body ensure that such basic necessities are first fulfilled,” fumed Sakunthala Srinivasan, president, Tiruchi District Payaneetalar Iyakkam.

Tiruchi Corporation was able to initiate some projects under the Smart City Mission such as redevelopment of Chathiram Bus Stand and a few others, but inadequacies plagued the civic services, especially in terms of solid and waste water management and maintenance of roads including internal roads.

Some of the earlier initiatives such as roadside gyms, development of parks, city cleanliness and beautification efforts, taken up earlier, also seem to have taken a back seat.

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