THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: PWD Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju has declared that the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP) works will be completed this year. However, the authorities responsible for the works have a number of hurdles ahead, mostly in the form of land acquisition. Several structures on public land need to be replaced for road development.
TRIDA, responsible for handing over the land to the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), has found itself stumbling over a lot of political and sensitive issues. The structures which need to be removed from the roads include bus shelters, shops and even a statue of Lord Ganesh. The statue, belonging to the Taxi Drivers’ Union, at Medical College is situated on the land which is part of road-widening.
“The big statue will break if it is removed from the site. That is the major hurdle before us. Since it is a sensitive issue, we have requested the government to intervene,” a senior KRFB official said. According to another official, the temple does not belong to the Devaswom Board and is less than 10 years old.
A number of shops from Pazhavangadi to East Fort and the bus shelters at East Fort, are the other structures which need to be razed down for road development. Since the issue is stuck on the issue of land acquisition, the road-widening works have halted till Overbridge. Two shops in Statue, one belonging to the Consumerfed and a textile shop, too need to be demolished for the road development. The bus shelter on the Thampanoor-Aristo Road, set up using the MLA fund of V Sivankutty, is another structure which needs to be pulled down.
Two buildings at Ulloor Junction and a building on the Power House Road too have to be dismantled for the road work.
Land acquisition is an issue at a number of other places too. The land belonging to Keltron at Vellayambalam Junction is needed for the widening of the footpath. A stay secured by a city-based businessman for the land along Shangumugham Road and delay in handing over the land of Shangumugham Devi Temple have hit the road-widening works on the Airport-Asan Square Road. The issues regarding handing over land at the Railway Overbridge in Pettah are yet to be resolved.
The KRFB has stopped the construction of vaults at Pattoor as the Pharmacy Council Employees’ Union has filed a case against the work before the High Court. The land belonging to St Joseph’s Cathedral, Palayam and St Thomas Marthoma Church, Pattoor, can be transferred only after the construction of the vaults.