KOCHI: Vijayakumar waited for customers at his modest eatery set up adjacent to his house along the service road of NH bypass at Kolathukara. He rarely gets customers on rainy days despite the fact that the shop is located at a convenient spot between Technopark phase 3 and campuses of Infosys and UST Global. When it rains, the road in front of his shop gets inundated with water. It even enters his shop and the dampness affects his polio-affected legs.
Vijayakumar’s family is not alone in this suffering. The storm water from the area flows down to the houses along the service road. It enters the compound, wells and the interiors of the houses. Students have to wade through knee-high waters to reach of Kulathoor Government High School or take a detour.
Commuting on the service road connecting Technopark phase 1, 2 and 3 has become a nightmare for motorists. The sewerage construction abandoned mid-way has become dangerous with iron rods from the concrete sticking out. Many vehicles have fallen down the drain in the night. Only a temporary barricade has been kept beside it. Apart from that, the situation has not changed much for the past one year.
In one year the work of the bypass has picked up the pace. If the sewage in front of Vijayakumar’s shop had been functional it would have taken the stormwater to the Thettiyar rivulet that crosses the Infosys campus. A standoff between the local politicians and contractors of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) which is building the infrastructure, led to the delay.
Locals led by CPM raised a demand to construct an underpass connecting Kolathukara and Chithiranagar across the bypass road. When NHAI objected to the demand, the sewerage construction was stopped twice. The contractor moved on to other works nearby while residents suffered.
“Water inundation will be solved only when the sewerage gets completed,” said local CPM leader and councillor of Poundkadavu ward, Medayil Vikraman. According to him, NHAI will construct the underpass soon.
NHAI officials clarified there has been no proposal to build an underpass in the area. It offered to build a foot overbridge (FoB) instead to help pedestrians cross the road. It currently has plans to build three vehicular underpasses at Venpalavattom, Eenchakkal and Kallumoodu Junction. “We expect the cooperation of the public in completing the sewerage work,” said an official of NHAI.