A final decision on the alignment of Pachalam ROB and the fate of the political opposition against it hangs in the outcome of Kochi Corporation’s council meeting slated for Monday.
While the ruling party is all set to approve the realignment of the ROB project, the Opposition has decided to intensify protest inside and outside the Corporation from Monday.
The LDF parties would walk out from the council if the agenda item on ROB’s re-design is approved against their protest. They would also agitate against the ruling council outside the Council meeting too.
Meanwhile, while the Corporation council will discuss the agenda on Pachalam ROB, the Goshree-Pottakuzhi Action Council would stage a dharna in front of the Corporation office on Monday afternoon. The action council members said if the Corporation approves the ROB re-design, they will immediately move to the DMRC office at the Revenue Towers and would burn in effigy the ROB re-design made by the DMRC.
The action council claims it would have around 500 people, including representations from the trader’s association, in attendance for the agitation. It’s the third time the council is going to discuss the ROB re-alignment. The long-pending ROB project at Pachalam returned to the spotlight in December when the DMRC proposed a 10 metre ROB, which according to them would need merely `33 crore, instead of the earlier proposed JNNURM-funded 22-meter ROB penned to cost `136 crore.
In January, after a brief discussion, an agitated opposition had walked out of the Council meeting against this re-alignment proposal.
The first council meeting of February ended with the opposition parties staging a dharna in front of the Mayor’s chamber, and writing to the authorities against giving approval to the realignment without a discussion in the council. It is after creating such mayhem that the council is bracing itself for a formal discussion and to give a final word on the ROB on Monday.
“The 22 metre-wide ROB proposed under JNNURM was conceived to decongest traffic in the city. But, the new design of a narrow 10m bridge is an attempt to suffice vested interests and garner votes in the coming election, jeopardizing development of the city,” said Opposition leader K J Jacob. However, the Congress councillors and other members of the ruling council said that the Opposition is playing politics on the ROB issue as polls are around the corner.