Officials said that this was the fifth time the causeway collapsed after the floods washed away the facility during the 2021 monsoon. The collapse of the facility has cut access to residents, who are mostly farmers and petty traders, in 25 surrounding villages that belong to Gudiyatham taluk (Vellore) and Ambur taluk (Tirupattur), from reaching Ambur town for various facilities like schools, colleges, government hospitals, banks, bus terminus and banks.
Due to the damage, they have to detour at least 12 kms to reach Ambur town via another causeway in Devalapuram village. “We have been demanding a high level bridge replacing the old causeway but our petitions have never been addressed,” said K. Pandidurai, a farmer from Gudiyatham.
Around 6.30 a.m on Sunday, local revenue officials and the police received an alert on the collapse of the causeway. Immediately, a team of revenue officials and police rushed to the spot and erected barricades on both sides of the causeway, which is 90 metres long and six metres wide. “Despite warnings from us, some people risk themselves by crossing the river on the submerged causeway, taking advantage of the slow running of water in the river,” police said.
At present, the causeway has been submerged a few feet below with excess rainwater running over the damaged facility. With the rain continuing, residents fear that the causeway may collapse permanently. Currently, only around 10% of the causeway falls within Tirupattur district limit, the rest comes under Vellore district.
Meanwhile, Tiruvannamalai Collector B. Murugesh visited the cyclone affected areas in Cheyyar and Vandavasi. Rain related losses include 174 Tangedco poles; 11 milch cows dead; 53 trees uprooted and 25 houses, mostly huts. Crop damages, mainly bananas and paddy, are being accessed.