Infrastructure development: the clock ticks slow for Coimbatore

 For a district known for its industrial activity and development across a wide range of sectors, 2012 failed to provide the much-needed infrastructure support for such a growth.

Be it the National Highways (NH) roads, flyover projects, road over bridges or expansion of stretches in the city, works are slow for various reasons such as delay in shifting utility lines, land acquisition process, etc.

Three NH roads crisscross the district – NH 47, NH 67 and NH 209. Connecting Coimbatore to its neighbouring industrial hubs, these roads have seen traffic, including cargo movement, grow manifold in the recent years and hence, wide roads are imperative.

On the NH 47, though works to six-lane the Chengapalli-Neelambur stretch (42 km) have slowed down, it is likely to be completed in 2013. Works to four-lane the 12 km stretch from Madukkarai to Walayar is yet to take off and are expected to commence in 2013.

With regard to the new bypass road project at a cost of Rs. 617 crore for nearly 54 km - NH 67 (extension) from Kangeyampalayam to Mettupalayam – efforts are on for land acquisition. With regard to widening the NH 209 stretch for 268 km from Dindigul to Karnataka border, via Coimbatore, the detailed project report is expected to be ready by March 2012. But, the year has come to an end and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is still waiting for the DPR.

With regard to roads in Coimbatore city, the State Highways Department took up widening of 3.5 km stretch from Government College of Technology to Edayarpalayam at a cost of Rs. 3 crore. The seven metre wide road was to become 10 metre wide. The works were to commence in April-May 2012 and get over in six months. An official of the department said that works are still on.

Widening of the Marudhamalai Road from Lawley Road junction to Kalidas Theatre is completed in places where land acquisition is not needed. With regard to land acquisition, the official said that the value should be finalised and then the acquisition will start. For the Telugupalayam Road, the underground drainage works have been completed and works will commence for widening.

As for the much-awaited Western Bypass project, it is awaiting approval for the revised alignment

“It is a disheartening situation in Coimbatore. Almost all roads, flyover and road over bridge projects are delayed. The bottlenecks should be removed to expedite works. The public are the worst hit as they do not get the benefit of having wide roads. The present scenario does not augur well for the city,” says K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause.

Almost all the road over bridge works in the city are facing a delay in completion and many have not even take off. For instance, the Gandhipuram flyover project has gone back to the drawing board and the new design needs to be finalised. Detailed Project Report for the Ukkadam flyover project is nearing completion.

After nearly one-and-a-half years, works for the road over bridge at Eachanari have commenced. Land acquisition is not over for the road over bridge on Nanjundapuram Road.

The two projects at Irugur are expected to be completed by March 2013. The agreement is to be executed soon at SIHS Colony and bids have been called for the road over bridge at Vilankurichi.

The real progress of the infrastructure projects in Coimbatore is far from what was announced. Proposals that reach the final stage for execution should not be revised.

The city needs focus and long-term proposals, adds Mr. Kathirmathiyon.

Source: The Hindu

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