KOCHI: Though the Centre is yet to give its nod for phase II of Kochi Metro between Kaloor Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium and Kakkanad, the widening of the stretch between Cochin Special Economic Zone and Collectorate Junction at Kakkanad has begun. The work was sanctioned by the state government as part of the preparatory works for Metro phase II.
Work on the Rs 49 crore project being implemented by the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd is mainly aimed at widening the stretch between Rajagiri valley and Collectorate Junction to facilitate four-lane traffic even when it is barricaded for the proposed Metro project here. K V Poulose and Strutcon are the contractors of the work.“Despite the Centre not according sanction, the government has decided to launch the work as the development of Seaport Airport Road has remained on standstill. Considering this, the government has asked KMRL to carry out the widening which will ease traffic congestion on the busy stretch between Kakkanad and Irumpanam,” said an official.
People, shop owners and residents at Eechamukku, CSEZ and Chittethukara area said the sad part is the staggering number of trees felled for the purpose.“We knew that it is all part of the infrastructure development. But it is painful to see more than 100 big trees being felled for the development of one-and-a-half km stretch,” said Kabeer A, an auto driver. “We are now planning to shift the auto stand from here as the green cover which gave us shade is no longer there,” said another auto driver.
KMRL officers said the agency is committed to maintaining the green cover. “The existing trees were cut down for widening the road. KMRL is planning to plant 10 trees at various locations in place of each tree which has been felled. The agency is committed to protecting the green cover,” said a KMRL officer.