THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Work of the two pedestrian bridges at Karikkakom, the delay of which had led to a BJP stir stalling the Parvathy Puthanar revival work, is about to begin. Though the projects have been awarded to Kerala Electrical and Allied Company Limited, Inland Navigation officials say that the delay in Parvathy Puthanar work is undoing the work done on the entire stretch.
The bridges have been lying in a dilapidated condition for years. Though the administrative sanction for the projects was signed more than a year ago, no contractor came forward to take up the work. This was despite a government order granting tender excess, and the invitation for tender being floated over four times.
According to Sreelatha, Assistant Executive Engineer, Inland Navigation, two steel bridges with concrete foundation and steps are being built. The works are estimated to cost Rs 38 lakh and Rs 40 lakh.
Local BJP leaders say that the officials and the Corporation have been turning a blind eye to the problem for years. Siva Lal, BJP Kazhakkoottam area vice-president, said,
“The officials were not able to keep their promises, even after of the bridges collapsed completely. Over two hundred families who live close to the highway need to cross the river every day. Only a wooden bridge, which has been laid next to the Karikkakom library, caters to these people.”
Inland Navigation has been dumping refuse, dredged from the river, on the banks. The Inland Navigation officials, however, clarified that they had removed 500 loads of waste and water hyacinth from the river, and disposed it far from the banks. Karikkakom Councillor G Sureshkumar said that BJP raised the issue only after the tender was awarded to KEL.
The Inland Navigation Department has cleaned more than 11 kilometres of the 14 kilometre stretch of Parvathy Puthanar. According to department officials, other than the under 3 kilometre stretch close to Karikkakom, removal of garbage and water hyacinth from Kunnumanal to Veli is complete.
The work on the bridges will take more than 6 months to complete. The Inland Navigation officials say that meanwhile water hyacinth at Karikkakom has started spreading.