Residents demand underpass at Nettoor ahead of rail doubling

Lack of underpass affecting the mobility of people of nearly 600 households in the Ambalakkadavu and North Colony wards of Maradu municipality
Image used for representational purpose only
Image used for representational purpose only

KOCHI: Amid the rising demand for an underpass at the Nettoor railway gate, barely a kilometre from the NH 66, the mobility of people living in the nearly 600 houses in the Ambalakadavu and North Colony wards of Maradu municipality continues to be severely restricted.

Coupled with the frequent closure of the railway gate, the absence of the underpass has been making lives difficult for the numerous people for whom the path through the railway gate serves as the main link to the city.

“Other than the ferry service, the Ambalakadavu Road that reaches NH 66 provides the main access to the city for residents sandwiched between the railway track and the backwaters. However, frequent closure of the gate makes travelling a tough task for us,” said V V George, who resides near the railway gate. The residents said the proposed doubling of the Ernakulam-Alappuzha coastal railway line will compound their problems owing to the spike in the number of train services.

George said the situation turns especially bad during a medical emergency, as they have to go for a alternative route, which is 2km longer, to another junction. “The other exits available are narrow, meaning there will be a traffic block if two cars approach each other at the same time,” he said.

Nettoor West Residents Association secretary Abdul Salam said the Ambalakadavu area comprises temples and churches, one of which has over 1,500 parishioners. Ferry passengers from Thevara and nearby areas mainly depend on the railway gate route, he said. Stressing the need for an underpass, Ambalakadavu councillor Jaya Joseph said the area will soon be covered under the Kochi Water Metro service. “The work is in progress. However, unless there is an underpass, the movement of those arriving or departing from the water metro jetty will be affected,” she said.

Jaya said a 25-member action council comprising the MP, MLA and the Maradu municipality chairman was formed following an all-party meeting to resolve the issue. “In the first meeting of the council, it was decided to raise the issue before the railway minister, divisional railway manager and other authorities concerned,” she said.

Former Maradu municipality vice-chairman Boban Nedumparambil said once the coastal railway line becomes a reality, the closure of Nettoor-Ambalakkadavu railway gate will become more frequent, increasing people’s challenges.

“An underpass is immediately needed to resolve the travel issues of residents as well as passers-by,” Boban said. He said the civic body, while he was its vice-chairman, had initiated efforts to relocate the railway gate. A sum of Rs 1.10 crore was sanctioned for the same, but the efforts proved futile.

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