The development of the Vanchiyoor-Old Collectorate Road that has been held up for months over the issue of cutting trees on the stretch is taking a new turn. The Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) has initiated talks with KSUDP to integrate the development of the road under a project envisaged by the latter to increase the width and depth of the road as part of a storm water drain project.
Meanwhile, the Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL), the concessionaire of road development in the capital, has found the idea of widening the road by retaining the trees ‘technically not feasible.’ A report in this regard is likely to be submitted by the agency to the KRFB next week. The development of the road requires cutting down 56 trees on the stretch, a move which was opposed by environmentalists. The TRDCL had initially planned to cut down the trees and build a double box culvert over the Amayizhanjan canal, making the road four-lane. However, with the plan inviting opposition, the KRFB had come up with a revised design by retaining the trees, making it a median and laying the slab on the other side. ‘’We had sent it to the Tree Committee for sanction and the new alignment is being studied by TRDCL,’’ said P C Harikesh, Chief Executive Officer of KRFB.
Unlike the road agency, KRFB does not find it technically non-feasible. The experts in KRFB, it is learnt, have okayed the design. ‘’However, we are exploring the possibility of integrating the project with that of KSUDP project but that would also mark the trees in the danger zone. Talks have just been initiated, we cannot reveal anything now,’’ said Harikesh.
Under the KSUDP project, blocks are being removed in the storm water drain connecting Observatory, Chenkalchoola, Thampanoor, Thakaraparambu, Uppidamoodu, Vanchiyoor and Kannammoola. There is also a plan to construct a new storm water drain from SL Theatre Road via Uppidamoodu to Vanchiyoor. However, a KSUDP official said that it is only in the planning stage and nothing concrete has been outlined. Which means, it would be another long wait.
The TRDCL, however, makes it clear that it stands by its opinion. ‘’The new design with trees on the median is not technically feasible. The KRFB should either alter the design or abandon the project,’’ said a TRDCL official.