Farmers, members of public threaten to block vehicles and hand them over to court
Frequent breakdown of heavy vehicles on Dhimbam Ghat Road disrupting vehicle movements is a major cause of concern for farmers and people of Talavadi who had planned to intercept vehicles carrying excess load and handover those vehicles in the court.
The ghat road on Dindigul – Mysuru National Highway 948 that passes through the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) has 27 hairpin bends and is busy round-the-clock as it connects Tamil Nadu with Karnataka through Hasanur. Since breakdown and accidents involving heavy vehicles with excess loads were frequent on the ghat road, height restriction bars were installed at check posts at Bannari and Hasanur so that vehicles with over 4.2 metre height and 3.3 metre height cannot use the road. But, two weighing bridges installed at Pudu Vadavalli, near Bannari, and near the Hasanur check post, remain idle since installation.
S. Manickam, a farmer at Talavadi, said that the TNSTC bus that started at 6 p.m. on January 31 at Sathyamangalam bus stand reached Talavadi at 6 a.m. next day due to breakdown of a heavy vehicle on the ghat road. “It took 12 hours for the commuters to reach Talavadi and they could not get down on ghat road as leopard, tiger and other wild animal movements were frequent”, he said. But the usual time is around two hours.
Farmers said that vegetables from Talavadi, Hasanur and Chamrajanagar in Karnataka could not reach the markets on time causing huge loss to the farmers and traders. They said that officials were allegedly bribed by lorry owners and vehicles carrying excess weight and with 12 and 18 wheels were allowed on ghat road leading to breakdown and accidents. “Traffic was disrupted on the ghat road for four to six hours a day for four days a week in the past one month”, a farmer said and added that disruption of vehicle movement affected people, farmers and visitors from Karnataka.
Hence, people, farmers, members of various political parties and workers will block vehicles at the foothills of Dhimbam carrying excess weight and beyond the permitted height and will hand over the vehicles in the court, members said. “The date of protest will be announced next week”, they added.