KOCHI: Kochi councillors expressed their ire over the bad condition of roads at the corporation council meeting on Wednesday. Councillors unanimously complained about the potholes and traffic blocks that plague the city roads and urged Mayor Tony Chammany to take actions needed for the urgent repair of road.
Since the rain began, even some of the most recently repaired roads have got damaged and the civic body is least concerned about repairing them, accused CPM councillor Anil Kumar who started the debate. “Badly damaged roads and traffic woes is the corporation’s gift to Kochites this Onam. While it takes only 20 minutes to reach Kundanoor from Cherthala, to reach the city from Kundanoor it takes at least one-and-a-half hours,” he said.
Even more frustrated was a Congress councillor who said,”I am tired of complaining.”“The Mayor must take a decision on repairing the road in Vytilla right now. I will not sit down. I will stand for the entire council until you take a decision,” said an emotionally charged Sunitha Dixon, the Vytilla councillor. She wanted the Mayor to contact the National Highway officials and ask them to immediately repair roads at Vytilla junction, one of the most busiest junctions in the city. The files on the proposals to tar the corporation roads in Vytilla is getting inordinately delayed in zonal offices, she added.She was later on calmed down by Vinod Kumar, Development Committee Chairman. Vinod, one of the most experienced hands in the council from the Congress, also tried to save the Mayor from facing the councillors’ wrath.
“The frustration of councillors are completely justified. But without a favourable climate, we cannot do the repairs. They should blame the climate and not the Mayor,” he argued. To this, the opposition said that the corporation should have prepared for the rains.
“What was the purpose of holding conferences like ‘Road Conclave’ in five star hotels if you were going to blame rains in the end,” asked opposition councillor Sunil kumar.
Opposition councillors also criticised the state government’s decision to increase the upper cap for pension eligibility, from `2 lakh to `3 lakh. The decision has shocked senior citizens whose applications had been cleared and were expecting pensions before Onam, they said.
They also expressed doubt over the feasibility of ‘Mission Kochi’, a programme announced to fast track existing projects. How will we finish these projects which could not be completed in the last three years within one year, asked BJP councillor Shymala S Prabhu.
In his reply speech to the council, Mayor Chammany blamed the climate for the bad condition of roads. “The climate is unfavourable for the repair works as the patch work done during rains will not last. This is ground reality and we must accept this,” he said. Citing the example of Chittoor road, he argued that some of the recently repaired corporation roads have got damaged because of heavy traffic.“However, I will ask the zonal offices to carry out urgent tar patching works. The works will be done according to the suggestions from the councillors,” he said.