KOCHI: A rusted construction mixer lies unattended at the entrance of the bridge. Three two-wheelers and one autorickshaw grace the otherwise-ghostly road. The bridge in question is the Mattathankadavu Bridge across the Konathupuzha. And, the approach roads are the ones that connects Udayamperoor Panchayat to the Amballur and Mulanthuruthy Panchayats.
The bridge was inaugurated four years ago by the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, right before the by-elections. Even after the elections and CPM coming to power, it lies deserted, replete with pot-holes and untarred roads.
The project of the Mattathankadav bridge and the approach roads was initiated by K K Velayudhan, social worker and ex-member of Mulanthuruthy Block Panchayat, who had convened several public meetings for this cause.
“It was the then MLA and minister T M Jacob who allotted Rs 5.95 crore for the project. It was a dream project of T M Jacob whose sudden demise paved way for the bypolls in Piravom Assembly Constituency. And when Vayalar Ravi was the central minister, he allotted Rs 60 lakhs from the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) fund for the development of Perumpilly-Mattathankadav road that stretches for 2.5 km, which was materialized 10 years ago.”, Velayudhan said.
Despite the road to success being arduous, the determined volunteers and their leader K K Velayudhan could overcome all hurdles one by one.
The bridge was finally constructed, but as the government had not paid dues to the contractor, a case was filed in the court which further delayed the construction of the approach roads.
“Ernakulam district panchayat president Asha Sanil had allotted Rs 60 lakhs for the approach road and a fund of another Rs 60 lakhs was assigned for the extension of the road to Mullanthuruthy.
The road work is in progress in the Perumpilly-Mattathankadav stretch. But the whole project can be materialized within three months only if the allotted fund is sanctioned,” Velayudhan adds.
“The functioning of the bridge and the roads are extremely vital. Currently, buses take the longer route, which is about six to seven km. If the bridge and the roads are reconstructed or renovated properly, then the distance could be reduced to 2 km,” said John Joseph, a resident of South Paravur.
“An interesting bit of history also lies here. This bridge and the approach roads connect the old kingdom of Travancore from the South Paravur side and Cochin from the Amballur side,” said Jai Joseph, another resident.
The bridge and the roads would contribute widely to the development of the three places, Udayamperoor, Amballur, and Mulanthuruthy.