Taking into consideration the apathy shown by the Kochi Corporation in the construction of a Road Overbridge (RoB) at Pachalam, a new proposal is now gaining momentum to solve the traffic woes here. A proposal to construct a Road Underbridge (RuB) has been mooted by Hibi Eden MLA during a visit by Railway officials the other day.
“The RoB has been in active consideration for years but nothing has materialised so far. No proper studies regarding the land acquisition, rehabilitation of the families and the alignment have been finalised. Unless a proper study is done, the families which have been living here for years will begin severe agitation. When I put forward the suggestion to the Divisional Railway Manager, he was optimistic and said that the proposal can be given due consideration,” said Hibi Eden MLA.
The Kochi Corporation had proposed the construction of an RoB was sanctioned under the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). However, the execution of the project has been caught between the realignment and land acquisition issues.
However, it is mandatory that a bridge or an underpass comes up at Pachalam, especially because heavy traffic blocks are witnessed at the railway level crossing on a daily basis.
Speaking on the project, Railway Area Manager P L Ashok Kumar said that a lot of factors will have to be taken into consideration, if an RuB has to be constructed. “Constructing an RuB requires detailed planning. In Ernakulam especially, it is near impossible to construct an underpass as it is prone to waterlogging. Makkaparambu and Edappally subways are examples of the same. However, the proposal will be considered. If it is being actively considered, we will have to consider a high-tech mechanism for the same,” Ashok Kumar said.
The Railways have, however, stated that they would be willing to share half the cost for the construction of the RoB. Corporation Town Planning Standing Committee chairman K J Sohan however said that construction of an RuB at Pachalam would be impossible since the area is densely populated. He also remarked that no decision has been yet made regarding the construction of the proposed RoB.
Hibi Eden MLA has also sought the railway officials to ensure that the Mangalavanam bird sanctuary is not affected during the revival of the Old Railway station.