Potholes awaiting pilgrims at Kuthiran
By Dhinesh Kallungal | Published: 25th November 2012 10:10 AM |
It is believed that the Ayyappa devotees who take a dip in the holy Pampa River before undertaking the customary arduous climb to the Sabarimala temple, located atop a rugged hill in the Western Ghats, are cleansed of all their sins.
But this time, it seems, the sins of the devotees will be cleansed of much before they reach their respective destinations as the pothole-ridden road at Kuthiran on the National Highway 47 is all set to receive the pilgrims with over 2,300 potholes on the 17-km stretch from Mannuthy to Vaniyampara, one of the busiest roads in the Indian highway network.
With the beginning of the Sabarimala season, the Thrissur-Palakkad stretch of the National Highway is set to witness a heavy rush of pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
But the devotees here have to brave hours-long grid locks at the Kuthiran hills to traverse nearly a 17-kilometre hill stretch where motorists have been negotiating through a carpet of potholes and craters, causing frequent accidents and suspension break-ups. According to a survey conducted by a local agency, there are over 6,000 potholes along the Mannuthy - Palakkad stretch, putting the commuters’ health in jeopardy. The survey also found that there are 2,324 potholes on the 17-km stretch from Mannuthy to Vaniampara and 511 potholes at Kuthiran alone. Interestingly, the uneven rough stretch from Thrissur to Palakkad has left about 15 drivers of the KSRTC buses in the bed owing to back pain.
“We would have boycotted the service on this route; but when private buses keep away from this route, KSRTC is the only option for the commuters. We are still ready to work on this route,” KSRTC Employees Association working president K K Divakaran said. Meanwhile, attempts to give a facelift to the pothole-ridden Mannuthy-Vadakkancherry stretch of the NH 47 have hit a blockade with its tenders receiving a rather lukewarm response. When the time period to apply for the contract ended last Saturday, only one company had applied for it and even the lone applicant was not ready to take up the work for Rs 5.6 crore allotted by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Following this, the NHAI invited fresh tenders from contractors to reinforce the road. “We have invited fresh tenders for repairing the stretch and would open them on November 29. If the re-tender proceedings turn futile, we would write to the Central Government and wait for a government decision,” NHAI project officer Ramanathan said.
To be precise, the condition of the road will remain the same for at least up to the middle of December, he added.