Minister reverses traffic schedule announced by Thoothukudi mayor …

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI:  Offsetting the decision taken by Thoothukudi corporation to allow heavy vehicles to enter the town area only between 10 pm and 7 am, the officials headed by social welfare and women empowerment minister Geetha Jeevan have now released an order restricting entry of heavy vehicles into Thoothukudi town only from 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 9 pm.

The swift change of timings within a week has led to confusion among road users, lorry operators and traders. Moreover, the alleged clash of powers between corporation mayor NP Jegan Periyasamy and his sister Geetha Jeevan has come to the fore. A press statement issued by the district collectorate on Tuesday said the district administration has restricted the movement of heavy vehicles into Thoothukudi town areas between 7 am and 11 am and also between 4 pm and 9 pm, in order to ensure safe transportation and prevent traffic snarls.

The decision was taken during a review of road transportation schemes chaired by Minister Jeevan in the presence of Collector Dr K Senthil Raj, Superintendent of Police L Balaji Saravanan, District Revenue Officer Ajay Seenivasan, sub-collector Gaurav Kumar and others, the press statement added.

It may be noted that Mayor Jegan, following a consultation meeting convened by corporation commissioner Dinesh Kumar and other stakeholders on March 27, revised the time schedule for heavy vehicles entering commercial streets like VE road and WGC road, from Ettayapuram road, Tamil salai road, and Tiruchendur road. They were permitted to enter the town only between 10 pm to 7 am with a view to reducing traffic congestion during the daytime.

Speaking to TNIE, Jegan, who is also the president of the lorry owners association and new bus stand central traders association, said the corporation took the decision to restrict the movement of heavy vehicles during daytime only after deliberation with stake-holding associations. “The regulation was necessary as Thoothukudi town witnesses heavy traffic up until 11 pm. Statistics prove that vehicular movement is very high during the daytime,” he said.

When asked, Minister Geetha Jeevan said she just ordered a ‘status quo’ on permitting heavy vehicles into the town after consultation with members of the Chamber of industries. “The decision on allowing lorries only during night hours was taken by the mayor, without consulting me,” she said. Corporation commissioner Dinesh Kumar said the time schedule fixed by the district collectorate is being followed with regard to heavy vehicle movement.

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