Schoolgirl death: Tiruchy corporation, highways department involve in blame game over fixing road

The people who had staged a protest over the incident on Melachinthamani Road blamed the road’s condition and the speeding private buses for the death.
The damaged Melachinthamani Road in Tiruchy | MK Ashok Kumar
The damaged Melachinthamani Road in Tiruchy | MK Ashok Kumar

TIRUCHY: The recent death of a 16-year-old schoolgirl on Melachinthamani Road in the city after she came under the wheels of a bus during her brother’s attempt to avoid a pothole was a disaster waiting to happen, say locals. The city corporation continuing with underground drainage (UGD) work in the stretch between Anna statue and Chathiram bus stand for over two months now is forcing pedestrians and vehicle users to share what little space is available on the battered road, they rue.

On Monday, A Jegajothi (16) was mowed down by the private bus after she fell off the two-wheeler driven by her brother when he allegedly attempted to stop the speeding vehicle from hitting a pothole. The people who had staged a protest over the incident on Melachinthamani Road blamed the road’s condition and the speeding private buses for the death. This comes when several schools and colleges are in proximity to the road.

While the civic body began to dig up one side of the busy road for underground drainage (UGD) works two months ago, it is yet to complete it, causing inconvenience to pedestrians and vehicle users alike. K Senthil, an autorickshaw driver from Chinthamani, said, "Two-wheelers, cars and street vendors are already encroaching upon either side of the road from Anna statue to Chathiram bus stand. After digging up the road, passengers waiting for their bus are forced to stand in the middle of the road. There is no space for pedestrians. There is always a traffic jam in the stretch. Buses also overtake and cross the road at high speed."

N Saravanan, an activist, said, “UGD works should at least be completed quickly on busy roads. Otherwise accidents and casualties will rise in the city, especially during rainy days." When contacted, a corporation official told TNIE, "Last week, we completed the UGD works in the stretch and sent funds to the state highways department to restore the damaged road." To this, a state highways official said, "The corporation has not yet completed the works in the road. They have to undertake manhole works there. Only after that can we can undertake patchworks."

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