Ooty: As Tamil Nadu gets ready to observe the second death anniversary of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday, hill residents in the Nilgiris gratefully recalled her swift action in 1993 to erect army-type 'Bailey bridges' at three places in the Marapalam sector of the Ooty-Coimbatore state highway, after the road was washed away in the most disastrous landslide in Marapalam in November 1993. That initiative helped to resume traffic quickly.
While this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Marapalam landslide, Mr.S. Ananthakrishnan, senior member of the Citizens' Forum of Coonoor, said that it is apt to remember and pay tributes to Ms. Jayalalithaa who showed her care and concern for the hill residents during the deva-stating landslides in
"Many lives were lost in the Marapalam landslide. Added to this was nature's fury that destroyed the Ooty-Coonoor-Coimbatore highway as it suffered severe damage in three places between hair-pin bends 14 and 11. The road was completely washed away in three places and traffic on this busy highway came to a complete halt," he pointed out.
"Though it was generally thought it would take months to restore road connectivity in the challenging conditions after the landslide, Ms. Jayalalithaa, who was the Chief Minister then, made an aerial survey of the affected spots and immediately took steps to construct Bailey bridges in three spots with the help of the Border Roads Organisation, a Defence ministry wing. Road traffic was resumed in little over a month after the disaster." Mr. Ananthakrishnan recalled the events and said that this showed her mental acumen and concern for hill residents.