Delay in bridge work makes students from A.P. villages to cross railway track to reach school near Tirupattur


Students climbing a coupling to go to their school in Pachur village near Natrampalli.

Students climbing a coupling to go to their school in Pachur village near Natrampalli.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Inordinate delay in the commencement of Rail Over Bridge (ROB) work across the manned railway crossing near the railway station in Pachur near Natrampalli is forcing hundreds of students from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to walk across the track to reach the Government Higher Secondary School in the Tamil Nadu village every day.

Residents said the railway level crossing was closed more than two years ago to build a bridge by the Department of State Highways, in coordination with the Southern Railway, to provide the people of more than a dozen farming villages easy access to Natrampalli, Jolarpet, Vaniyambadi and Tirupattur.

As part of the project, a limited use vehicular subway is also under construction by the Southern Railway to provide safe access to both sides of the village. However, the work for the new bridge has not started yet and the subway work is moving at snail’s pace. “We told our students not to cross the track but the detour is longer for them. Opening of the new subway is the permanent solution to prevent loss of lives,” said S. Ganesan, headmaster of the school.

Opened in 1957 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj, the school has around 550 students including 90 girls, mainly at the higher secondary level. More than 100 students in the school come from remote villages of Andhra Pradesh like Kondakindapalle, Mallanuru, Gudupalle Mandal and Ramakuppam Mandal of Chitttoor district (A.P). Students also come from border villages like Kothur, Sorakayalnatham and Bandarapalli in Tirupattur to the school.

Due to the closure of the railway level crossing, motorists and pedestrians have to take a detour of at least 2 km to reach the opposite side of the track. Unlike motorists, pedestrians and cattle herders sneak through the closed level crossings to reach the other side of the track. Pachur railway station has two tracks, mainly for express and goods trains.

Officials of the State Highways said the new vehicular subway is an alternative as most pedestrians do not use the ROB staircase. On the other hand, the subway provides easy and safe access for pedestrians. At Pachur village, subway work is nearing completion. Vehicles like two-wheelers, autorickshaws, tractors, cars can use the new facility.

“The new ROB work has not started yet due to various reasons. However, steps will be taken to start the bridge work in earnest,” V. Annamalai, Assistant Divisional Engineer (ADE), State Highways (Tirupattur), told The Hindu.


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