CHIDAMBARAM:Incessant rains in the past four days have completely cut off Sarvarajanpettai from the mainland. Copious amount of downpour in the past few days has left the Velliyankal canal in spate, leading to the collapse of the sole bridge connecting it to the main road.
According to sources, around 800 families live in the village situated between two canals — Velliyankal and Manavaikkal. The lifeline of the people for this village was a narrow bridge built across Velliyankal canal to reach the main road. The bridge was the sole medium of connectivity for people bound for Kattumannarkoil or Chidambaram. However, the rains in the past few days destroyed the bridge, disconnecting the village from the main road. In the absence of the bridge, the residents are forced to take a nearly seven km detour via a narrow and battered stretch of road to reach Kattumannarkoil.
Claiming that the collapse of the bridge had affected the daily lives of resident adversely, Devadoss (50), a resident of the village, said, “Around 150 students from our village are studying in schools and colleges in Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil. They reach the main road using the bridge. Now that the bridge has collapsed, they are forced to walk seven km to catch a bus. Most people have stopped going to work fearing the long and arduous journey to get the bus.”
Blaming the Public Works Department (PWD) for their misery, another villager said, “The canal was full of silt, bushes and small trees. The canal had was infested by agaya thamarai, which was affecting the free flow. Had the district administration and the PWD taken steps to clean and desilt the canal before the rainy season, the bridge could have been saved. We had petitioned the officials several times to desilt the canal, but they always turned a deaf ear,” said Arivukkarasu.
According to Girija, a resident, “Those who have motorbikes can reach towns easily, but what about the poor folks who have to walk those extra seven kms. During night or emergency, getting help from the town would be impossible.”
Adding to the woes of the residents is the power outage. “The village is under the cover of darkness since the past four days.Government should take steps to restore power supply to our village and make efforts to construct a stronger bridge,” another resident said.