KOCHI: As Kochi witnessed heavy rain on Tuesday, traffic went haywire, affecting the movement of vehicles the entire day. Cops deployed for traffic duties had a tough time smoothening vehicle movement, which got stuck in many key junctions. National Highways and major roads in Kochi city witnessed traffic snarls from 8 am. Vehicles were moving at a snail’s pace at Kundannoor, Vytilla, Edappally, Kaloor, Kadavanthra, Tripunithura, Kakkanad and Kalamassery.
The entire vehicular movement on National Highway 544 stretch from Kalamassery to Edappally and NH 66 stretch from Varappuzha to Kundannoor was affected. Similarly, traffic jam was severe on Seaport-Airport Road from Collectorate Junction to Chitathukara.
“Potholes are the main reason behind the slow-moving traffic. Vytilla and Kundanoor areas were worst affected. Traffic congestion at Vytilla and Kundannoor also affected the movement of vehicles towards Tripunithura. Motorists fearing deep potholes drove carefully. There were also visibility issues in the morning,” Francis Shelbi, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic East, said.
Around 60 officers, including traffic wardens, were deployed for handling traffic issues from morning to evening. “Around 20 additional police personnel were allotted by the Kochi City Police Commissioner’s office considering the traffic issues. If the rain continues, additional men have to be used to man the traffic in the coming days as well,” he said.
One of the worst affected stretches is Greater Cochin Development Corporation (GCDA)-owned Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road where one portion is completely damaged. “Potholes are severe from Kathrikadavu bridge to Kadavanthra. However, repair works can be carried out only when the rain stops. More fund is to be allocated for the road repairing works,” GCDA Chairman V Salim said.
Kaloor traffic signal
Due to a technical snag, the traffic signal at Kaloor Junction has been dysfunctional for the past two days. One of the busiest junctions in Kochi is manned by policemen. “More persons are deployed in Kaloor as the traffic signal there is not working. The repair work is currently being carried out and we expect to restore the signal lights in two days,” Shelbi said.
Around 60 officers, including traffic wardens, were deployed for handling traffic issues from morning to evening.
Opposition blames Corporation
Opposition leader K J Antony said traffic issues point to the inefficiency of the people who are ruling the Corporation. “We have been demanding a coordination committee which overlooks road repair works in Kochi. The committee should have officials from Corporation, NHAI, PWD and GCDA which own roads here. But no committee has been formed till now. The road repair works should be completed before the onset of monsoon for which tenders have to be invited months ahead,” he said.
He blamed the quality of road repair works carried out by contractors. “In Kochi, road repair works are carried out by a set of contractors. The Corporation never bothers about the quality of the work they do. The persons ruling the Corporation are busy with their factional feuds. They don’t get enough time to assess the works carried out by contractors,” said Antony.