Local people and motorists have been facing severe hardships owing to the delay in reopening a crucial pocket road in the city which was closed down for renovation more than two months ago.
While the residents on the half-kilometre-long Panavila-Hantex Road blame the authorities for the sluggish pace at which the work has been progressing, PWD officials attribute the trouble to the delay in shifting utilities by various government agencies.
Water supply pipelines of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and multiple underground power and telecom cables pass beneath this narrow road. Since the road is dug up, residents who own four-wheelers have been prevented from using it. Two-wheelers have to be pushed along the edges to either sides of this road.
“When one problem gets solved, another springs up,” was how Rajeendran, a resident, described the situation. This short stretch, which links two major roads, was closed down for renovation and to raise the level of a drainage passing along the Rajaji Nagar Colony, which is at the southern end of this road. The work was meant to ensure that the thickly-populated colony was free of water-logging during monsoon months.
Christmas day saw the PWD cross one big hurdle in completing its work; the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) finally moved its UG cables on Tuesday. “The KWA and the BSNL have informed us that they too would shift their utilities soon,’’ Thampanoor ward councillor R Harikumar said.
“Rs 90,000 was spent on shifting the electric post and cables, which was one reason for the delay,’’ he said.
According to the residents, the road has been under renovation for more than two months now. Latha, who runs a shop here, complains that her business has been hit badly ever since the closure of the road. “No vehicles pass through here now,’’ she said. “It is also difficult for us to load and unload goods at our outlets,’’ says Rema, another shopkeeper.
PWD officials claimed that they can complete the work within a month, provided the BSNL and KWA acted quickly. “Our work can be carried out and completed only if their utilities are removed. If that is done, we can complete our work in a month’s time,’’ a senior PWD official said.
But the local people are taking such promises only with a big pinch of salt. “There is still some uncertainty that remains here with regard to the work. The officials should make a clarification regarding the delay,” says T Ranjith, a resident. “It would be at least February before the work starts rolling in earnest,” he said.
Meanwhile, the residents of a small colony of 15 houses are facing a different problem. Their colony lacks a proper sewerage system and the dug-up road has only aggravated the issue, they allege. “The houses have only a common toilet and it doesn’t have proper drainage connection. The waste water is now leaking on to the dug-up road. What should we to do?’’ says Biju, a tailor.