This is not a mass migration one is likely to read in history books -- around 7,000 inhabitants of a hilly town in this district plan to move out, lock, stock and barrel, fed up with the utterly deplorable conditions of the 30 km ghat road in their area.
Those affected include estate workers and officials and teachers. So bad are the road conditions in Megamalai that both private and government transport corporations have withdrawn the already skeletal bus services to the town.
Rajendran, a local Village Committee member, says that tea estates, which usually maintain the 23 hairpin road, are turning their back on it now, citing unremunerative tea prices and increased costs. Result - one private bus and two state transport buses have stopped operations for more than a month.
Though the tea estates are supposed to maintain the roads after they were given charge of it by the erstwhile "Chennai Mahana (presidency) Revenue Commissioner" in 1921, estate officials now say the cost would amount to a whopping rs 11 crore. "The roads have to be relaid and we cannot afford it now," they say.
Revenue officials on their part say the government cannot spend such a huge amount for the road now.