KOCHI: Vyttila, one of Kochi’s busiest localities, has a lot going on right now. The metro station that was inaugurated in August, a Rs 590-crore Phase II expansion of the Vyttila Mobility Hub, the Kundannoor flyover which is expected to open in March 2020, and a proposed integrated water transport project by KMRL being a few of them. But, despite the progressive spotlight, the authorities are failing to ensure basic safety to commuters who travel through the area.
The back exit of Vyttila hub, connecting the Mobility Hub Road with Ettumanoor-Ernakulam Road, is in utter darkness after nightfall. Commuters from both the hub and Metro station use this connection road to reach the temporary bus stop opposite Sri Siva Subrahmanya Swayambhoo Temple. The 500-metre stretch that lies between the metro exit and bus stop doesn’t even have a single street light.
“It is a scary experience. I use my phone’s flashlight to hurry through the dark stretch and get to the bus stop. The condition is worse after 8 pm when there is lesser number of commuters in the area. You cannot even see attackers if they were to hide behind these bushes,” says Athul Krishnan, a bank employee who takes the route quite often. “I have no idea how they expect women and children to use this bus stop. You can’t see buses or vehicles coming, and we are waiting in absolute darkness,” says Amrutha Lakshmi, a housewife travelling with her five-year-old daughter.
According to Sajeesh C, an auto driver who is stationed outside the metro station, residents have spotted snakes and reptiles multiple times on this road. “This whole area used to be a marshland before the metro station was built. The grass and bushes have not been cleared fully, so snakes are a regular sight here. A few months back, there was also an incident of chain snatching that the locals prevented and settled,” he says. The police, however, have not confirmed any criminal activity in the area.
Haven of crawlies
The area used to be a marshland before the metro station was built. The bushes have not been cleared fully, so snakes are a regular sight here,said a resident.
Blame game on
Though this is a question of basic infrastructure that could affect the safety of hundreds of commuters, authorities are busy passing the buck around and blaming each other. Vyttila Mobility Hub Society managing director R Girija was quick to pass the responsibility over to PWD, saying the road doesn’t fall under hub’s jurisdiction. Suresh Kumar, PWD assistant engineer, said that though the road falls under PWD, lighting is the corporation’s responsibility. Councillor P S Shine, however, claims that they are helpless in this case. “Most of that area falls under the hub, so the corporation has little authority there. The electricity line starting from the ticket counter of the hub, extending to the back exit has been down for weeks now, and we have been asking them to fix it. But they haven’t responded. Unless that comes through, our hands are tied. We also brought in an agency to set up Imax LED lights in the area using the MLA fund, but that hasn’t yielded any results either,” he said, adding that the hub authorities could solve this safety threat in just a day.