Despite strong resistance from LDF councillors, the Corporation Council approved the realignment of Pachalam Railway Over Bridge (ROB) as suggested by DMRC and gave the project in-principle approval. The Corporation approved the agenda item related to this after it was put for vote in the corporation council on Monday.
The decision came after more than three hours of gruelling discussions about the new design of ROB. The DMRC had proposed a redesign for the long-pending Pachalam ROB project,
limiting the bridge width to 10 meters instead of the 40 meters as in the earlier JNNURM proposal. The related land acquisition costs, claimed the ruling council of the corporation, would come down to `30 crore with this re-design from the earlier estimated `300 crore. According to the corporation, the state government would bear 50 per cent cost of the project and the remaining would be funded by the Railways.
Opposition leader of the house K J Jacob started the debate following which the opposition members vehemently opposed the re-design. Jacob said that by giving approval for a 10 meter bridge, replacing the original 40 meter width of the ROB project, the corporation is trying to jeopardize future development of the Mamangalam-Vaduthala region. “This is being done eying the upcoming Lok Sabha election,” said Jacob. Spearheading the attack against the ruling council, Opposition councillor M Anilkumar said that the there is no ground to the ruling council’s claim of non-availability of funds for a 40 meter bridge. “Funds can be garnered if it’s implemented in the DTP scheme and using GIDA funds and asking the state government for the remaining funds,” said AnilKumar.
However, development committee chairman T J Vinod Kumar and Town Planning Committee Chairman K J Sohan countered this view. “For the 40 meter bridge to be implemented under the JNNURM scheme, the centre would spent only `2.24 crore but the Corporation would have to spend around `300 crore. The DTP scheme of work is not practical as the land will have to be forcefully taken away from people,” said Vinod Kumar.
K J Sohan said that other longer bridges can be constructed in the region in future and that the proposed bridge will not be a hinder to that. Anilkumar opposed this view and said that if the redesign is approved, it will become impossible for the civic body to materialise its original development plan for the region because of the alignment of the road.
He added that chances are low for the redesign to get approval from railways and alleged that the council has tampered with files related to the original project.