There is no escaping the fact that the 80-km road between Karunagapally and Cherthala is one of the arduous stretches of National Highway 47 that could put any motorist in a vortex of peril. The incessant rains have turned it into a veritable death trap, especially during night, as the pothole-infested stretch has claimed six lives in the past one month. To say the least, the road is also a nightmare for two-wheeler riders.
Most of the accidents occur between Cherthala and Thottappally, as the road between these two places ‘boasts’ of hundreds of craters. And these can be found at Kanjikkuzhy, Mayithara, SL Puram, Kalarcode, Ambalappuzha, Kakkazham, Kacherimukku Vandanam, Purakkad, Karuvatta and Krishnapuram in Alappuzha district.
On the Kollam side, large cracks could be found on the roads near Oachira, Pallimukku, Block Office Junction, Vavvakkavu north, Puthentheruvu, Puthiyakavu and Valiyakulangara.
Last September, when Express ran a series highlighting the pathetic condition of the roads, repair works were carried out at certain places but the state of affairs are back to square one. It is quite evident that no maintenance work was taken up before the arrival of monsoon season.
Though two rounds of patch work were done at many vulnerable spots of the NH stretch passing through Kollam district, the efforts could not withstand the torrential rains that lashed the State.
Ironically, on the Alappuzha side, the problems worsened after the Public Works Department (PWD) tried to level the craters in May. As in the neighbouring district, the attempts turned futile due to copious rains.
As the blame game continues the PWD rues the delay in allocating funds.
According to PWD (NH Division) Alappuzha, about `40 crore was spent for NH repair works between 2009 and 2012, including `2 crore last year. However, it has become clear that mere patch work can’t improve the riding condition of the roads.
Kollam PWD Division Executive Engineer S Beena said that the maintenance work, carried out using contingency funds, is not enough to make the roads motorable.
The problem could be solved only by resurfacing the roads, she noted.
To a query on why the maintenance works are carried out just before the arrival of monsoon, she said that the department had to wait for the funds to be cleared.
Mathew, an auto driver at Alappuzha town, said major maintenance works were done along the stretch about two years ago and it is time to re-lay the road. The condition of the road shows the apathy of the authorities concerned, he remarked.
CPM Alappuzha district secretary C B Chandrababu said the party had decided to launch a protest against the attitude of the government. (To be concluded)