KOCHI: Owing to high vehicle density, Kochi’s roads have always cut a sorry figure. The city’s potholed and narrow streets accounted for a significant portion of 2,290 accidents recorded in 2019 alone. With vehicles keeping away from roads during the pandemic-induced lockdown, Kochi, for once, had motorable roads during the first half of this year. But, things are now back to square one. With rain lashing the city for the past few days and increased traffic movement wreaking havoc on the roads, many stretches in the city are currently in a terrible state, giving motorists a back-breaking ride.
Chittoor road, Kathrikadavu-Pullepady road, Maveli road and Salim Rajan road in Gandhinagar are making life miserable for commuters.According to T S Madhavan, secretary, Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC), Elamkulam area, the Maveli road along which many government offices exist, including Consumerfed and Central Warehousing Corporation, was last re-tarred by the Kochi Corporation around 15 years ago. “Only patchwork has been done on the road for the last many years. The issue of large potholes persists,” he adds.
Besides Maveli road, the crater-like potholes near the EMS Square on Salim Rajan road and in front of Skyline Mansion and Indira Gandhi Co-operative Hospital on the GCDA-Gandhinagar stretch also rile both residents and commuters. “Accidents involving two-wheelers and heavy vehicles are common on Salim Rajan road due to the large potholes. A traffic signal was installed on the road by authorities to streamline traffic and reduce accidents,” said Madhavan.
Gandhi Nagar councillor Poornima Narayan blamed the corporation for the bad state of the roads in her ward. “The corporation has not granted any funds for renovating the Salim Rajan and Maveli roads for the past six years. I had written to the council many times seeking funds for the same to no avail,” she said.
The Chittoor road and Kathrikadavu-Pullepady road are also in a dismal condition. According to a resident, the area near Mymoon-Lulu theatre is ridden with potholes. “Craters are present throughout the stretch till the Ernakulam South railway station,” said the resident.
On the Kathrikadavu-Pullepady stretch, frequent pipe bursts near the Calicut Halwa and Bakery were cited as the reason by residents for its bad state. “The spot where the pipe burst happened was repaired recently and covered with concrete, but a huge crater has formed there,” said M G Pradeep, a resident of the area.
Rangadasa Prabhu, president, Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council
If Kochi needs better roads, first the blame game has to stop. It is disappointing to see that not even a HC verdict can save Kochi’s roads. The corporation needs to solve its issues with the contractors. At present, many important stretches in the city are with the corporation, PWD, GCDA or the NHAI. We need an authority which can coordinate with these departments and conduct work. EDRAAC has always asked for early patch work of roads, which would save a lot of resources. But the authorities are always complacent until the road is completely dilapidated. Another issue which has has contributed to the sad state of Kochi road are the clogged canals. This leads to waterlogging which eventually chips away the bitumen on the roads.
who is accountable?
Accidents involving two-wheelers and heavy vehicles are common on Salim Rajan road. A traffic signal was installed on the road by authorities to streamline traffic and reduce accidents. Gandhi Nagar councillor Poornima Narayan blamed the corporation for the bad state of the roads in her ward. “The corporation has not granted any funds for renovating the Salim Rajan and Maveli roads for the past six years. I had written to the council many times,” she said.
‘Work to start soon’
assistant engineer, PWD, Ernakulam Division
Many roads in the city which are now in a terrible state are not under the Public Works Department. Though the rain has delayed work, the PWD is now all set start on-site activities in many parts of the city. We have already sent a proposal for BC Overlay work at Aluva-Ernakulam stretch, which includes the MG Road in the city. PWD is also undertaking renovation work on the stretch in front of the High Court Junction. This is besides the work which will soon be undertaken on the Chittoor-Moolampilly road.
Soumini Jain, Mayor, Kochi Corporation
Temporary pothole filling was done by the corporation in many areas of Gandhinagar, excluding Maveli road, before Onam. The government will be tendering Maveli road and work will be carried out by the Public Works Department (PWD). The renovation of the road will be done using the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. The work on specific reaches of Chittoor road will also start shortly. We have also given instructions for filling the potholes in other parts of the city which will start once the issue with contractors is solved
City’s bad roads
Chittoor road leading to South railway station
Salim Rajan road