KOCHI: Heavy rains and floods have claimed enough lives in Kerala, but potholes on damaged roads in the state have proved to be a bigger threat to the denizens, with them having claimed 159 in the past three years. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ data said there is no fall in the number of deaths due to potholes in the state between 2015 and 2017 even though time and again both National Highways Authority of India and state Public Works Department claim they have been regularly repairing roads to prevent accidents.
“The flood has damaged roads in the state. Potholes of 20 cm-30 cm depth are now a common sight. The government should quickly repair roads as people are using them more post deluge,” said Upendra Narayana, traffic safety expert.
Data says though the number of accidents in Kerala due to potholes has fallen to 522 in 2017 from 531 in 2015, the number of deaths have remained almost the same. While 53 persons died and 592 persons got injured due to potholes in 2015, it was 52 and 779 respectively in 2017 and 54 and 597 in 2016. “Normally the lifespan of a properly laid road is 15 years. But in Kerala, due to inferior work quality, use of poor construction material and lack of maintenance, potholes start appearing on roads just after a few months,” said Narayan.
National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) chief scientist B G Sreedevi said lack of proper maintenance was the reason for craters on roads. “It’s mainly the two-wheeler riders who die in accidents due to potholes. Roads in Kerala fast develop potholes because of rains. NATPAC has been highlighting the need of timely maintenance of roads to prevent potholes,”she said.