10,000 villagers on Jawadhu Hills demand proper roads

After a two-decade battle to seek road connectivity, villagers of the 14 hamlets have now demanded that a proper road be built on this five-km stretch.
Residents of Pungampattunadu face a daily challenge as they navigate a rough five-km road to access basic necessities. (Photo | S Dinesh)
Residents of Pungampattunadu face a daily challenge as they navigate a rough five-km road to access basic necessities. (Photo | S Dinesh)

TIRUPATTUR: Villagers of Pungampattunadu on Jawadhu Hills had to travel 48 km to reach the market in Tirupattur. Thus, to save time, over 10,000 people resorted to the five-km mud stretch from Sekkanur to Kodumampalli that they themselves laid. After a two-decade battle to seek road connectivity, villagers of the 14 hamlets have now demanded that a proper road be built on this five-km stretch. Initially, the five-km stretch was a forest trail that could be covered only on foot.

So, in cases of transporting harvested goods from the hillock to the market, or materials for construction of houses, locals had to resort to the 48-km long route. To source daily essentials from Tirupattur via Pudhurnadu, or travel to the English-medium schools on the foothill, they prefer to walk since the five-km stretch is also the shortest route.

In 2013, after requests for a proper road were not heeded, the locals took matters into their own hands and widened the five-km stretch into a mud road, which has been in use since 2015. The forest department filed a court case in this regard since the route fell on the land owned by the department. Even though the five-km stretch has not proved to be the most convenient route due to its rugged nature, the locals continued to use it for the lack of a better alternative. Siva Shakthi (31), a resident, said,

"When we travel from Pungampattunadu to Tirupattur, via Pudhurnadu, it takes much longer to reach the destination. Alternatively, if we take the five-km route from Sekkanur to Kodumampalli, it consumes over an hour of travel due to the poor road conditions. Neither of these routes is convenient. Only when the five-km road is properly constructed will we have a feasible commuting option."

"Transporting load from the village to the market has become an arduous task due to poor road conditions. Every month, I set aside at least 5% of my earnings for the treatment of my back pain that I have developed due to navigating these rough roads," said Kareem (28). He added that the absence of a proper road had got him into an accident and a consequent six-month bed rest.

When contacted, officials said a proposal has been forwarded and a response from the forest department is awaited. Block Development Officer Shankar told TNIE, "The proposal has been sent to the forest department, and currently we are working on resolving the queries posed by the department. They have requested an FMB (Field Measurement Book) sketch, and we are working on it."

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