KOCHI: The Mayor and the District Collector are at loggerheads yet again. A day after the District Collector M G Rajamanickam blamed Kochi Corportion for failing to carry out pre-monsoon maintenance works, Mayor Soumini Jain said, “The Collector is making baseless accusations.”
In a reply to the Kerala High Court’s directive asking him to convene a meeting of all stakeholders and to formulate a specific programme to take up rectification works on a war-footing, the Collector on Monday said the pathetic condition of the city roads was the result of the authorities not carrying out pre-monsoon maintenance activities.
“Most of the roads are maintained by the PWD department, which comes under the district administration. And it is these roads which are in a pathetic condition,” she said on Tuesday. Refuting Rajamanickam’s allegations, the Mayor said that since this is the actual state of affairs, the Collector’s statement to the court is misleading.
The court had issued the order on a petition filed by Roshan Jacob Oommen, seeking steps to curb rain-induced flooding in the city, caused by the authorities’ failure to repair potholed roads. According to the petitioner, pedestrians are forced to walk on potholed footpaths and are exposed to the threat of uncovered manholes.
The Collector had directed the Kochi Corporation to remove within one month all the illegal parking lots made by building or shop owners on roads and footpaths in the city.
The Collector also informed that all the agencies concerned were directed to rectify damaged footpaths and roads within one month.
“The decision was taken at a meeting of all the stakeholders, including the GCDA, Corporation, PWD, DMRC and the KMRL, convened on June 23. The agencies agreed to do sport-inspections and identify the issues so as to complete the rectification works expeditiously,” stated the Collector’s report, adding that inaction on the part of the Corporation in taking timely action against building owners who modified roads and footpaths to make parking lots was the main cause of the traffic congestion on major roads in the city, including MG Road.
The Corporation submitted that dumping of construction waste into drains had resulted in blockage of drains and flooding.
“Works are underway to remove silt from the Perandoor and Rameswaram canals. It is not possible to repair roads during monsoon. The Corporation is taking every step to safeguard the health of citizens by taking up repair works expeditiously,” stated the Corporation.
This is not the first time that the Mayor and the Collector have enegaged in a war of words. Some six months back, Collector had ordered the removal of the beacon from the Mayor’s official vehicle.
Civic issue: Post it on FB
The District Collector has informed the Kerala High Court that the administration is planning to build a social media network system that will enable the public to participate in solving civic problems. If the public comes across damaged roads, uncovered drainage, damaged slabs, potholes on public roads and illegal parking in walkways they can post it on the Facebook or any networking sites for immediate rectification.