KOCHI: The Kaloor-Kathrikadavu road has become a nightmare for motorists, as the authorities concerned and political parties play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for the frequent accidents occurring on the stretch.
On Monday, a car was severely damaged after it fell into a one-foot-deep pothole near Kathrikadavu, prompting local residents to stage a protest that caused traffic block for more than four hours.
The condition of roads in Kochi, which is said to be emerging into a metro city, continues to be pathetic despite several assurances from the authorities to repair them.
Though PWD Minister G Sudhakaran had set road development as a main agenda while taking charge, no steps have been taken to revamp roads in the state’s financial capital.
The latest victim of the official apathy was Vyttila-native Firoz whose car was damaged after falling into the pothole.
“The ‘balancer shaft’ of the car broke in the impact. I am a regular commuter on this stretch. After the accident, I contacted the GCDA, Corporation, police, PWD and the KWA.
Instead of taking responsibility, the agencies are blaming each other. Though we pay tax and toll for using roads in the state, the authorities wash their hands of the responsibility of maintaining the roads,” he said.
Express spoke to eight persons who met with accidents at the same spot on the Kaloor-Kathrikadavu stretch. Sibi, who works as a delivery boy at a hotel in the area, broke a bone after his bike crashed into the pothole.
Thoppumpady-native Sajeevan, who met with a similar accident at the same spot, was lucky to escape without injury. “I did not die, just because of the luck of my children. The driver of the truck that was coming behind me applied the brake at the right time, saving my life,” he said. Asokan, Rajeev and Rahul also have similar stories to tell.
“Every day, at least one accident occurs in the area due to the giant pothole. It is a scary stretch during night, when visibility is poor,” said Prathapan, who runs a spare-parts shop in the area.
The Kaloor-Kathrikadavu road, which was under the jurisdiction of the GCDA, was handed over to the KWA for replacing old pipelines.
The `5-crore project, which was sanctioned based on a proposal by Hibi Eden MLA, was completed two months ago. However, the damaged portions of the 3-km stretch are yet to be re-laid.
When Express took up the issue with GCDA chairman C N Mohanan, he put the blame on the KWA. “Even after completion of the pipe-laying work, pipe bursts occur frequently. So, we asked the KWA to conduct a proper inspection and complete the work, which has not been done yet.
The road can be repaired only after the KWA completes its work. Ever since I took charge as the GCDA chairman, I have been sending memos to the KWA on the issue,” he said.
An employee of the KWA said the pipe-laying work was progressing. “Work is progressing on the Kaloor-Kathrikadavu stretch. We only know that the work will be completed very soon,” said the officer on condition of anonymity.
Gracy Joseph, councillor of the ward, blamed the GCDA for the poor condition of the road. “I had met the GCDA chairman last week and raised the issue.
I have been calling him daily, raising concern about the frequent accidents. I don’t know what he is waiting for. If the GCDA cannot take up the repair work, it should hand over the road to the Corporation. We will maintain the road properly,” she said.
PWD Minister G Sudhakaran was not available for comment.