VILLUPURAM: Road to the afterlife also has to be paved with good intentions, seems to be the moral that the resident of Periyapattu village near Thirunavalur took away from a long-standing correspondence with the administration.
They had, in three days, done something that the officials were not been able to in over 40 years. They built a three km-long road to the village cemetery, sharing the work and expenses among themselves.
According to sources, nearly 500 families live in Periyapattu. Around 40 years ago, the officials allotted a plot for cemetery. This plot, however, did not have a proper road leading to it. Residents had to walk through a poramboke land, which was being used as a farm, to reach the cemetery. During monsoons and farming season, it was impossible to walk through the farm, and the residents then had to take a detour of eight kilometres. Were there a proper road, the distance would have been only three kilometres.
In these 40 years, the residents had approached administration, successive MPs and MLAs with petitions for a proper road.
When it became apparent that this was a lost cause, they talked to the encroachers on the poramboke land, the owners of land near the cemetery, and succeeded in clearing land to lay the road.
After this burst of initiative, they approached the revenue department with a request to mark the land and lay a road. When no action was taken even after months, the residents threatened to go on an indefinite strike, and gave the authorities time until August 15 to mark the road.
A few days ago, Ulundurpet tahsildar Rajendrian met the villagers and assured action. On Thursday, revenue department officials, including the village administrative officer, Muthukaruppan, came to the village and marked the path. Since rains were expected in a few days, the villagers decided to not wait for the officials, and on Friday laid a compact mud road.