Even as the road from Neeramankara to Pravachambalam has been developed into a six-lane rubberised stretch, the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities in installing traffic signal lights and the speeding of vehicles has turned it into an accident zone.
On Monday, one person was killed and another man suffered serious injuries in two separate accidents that occurred at Kaimanam and Karakkamandapam on the stretch. Figures show that the frequency of accidents here is going up now. City Traffic Police say that ten accidents took place in seven days starting March 1, the day the stretch was inaugurated. Two persons succumbed to injuries in these accidents, including the one that occurred on Monday.
Incidentally, more number of accidents have been taking place near the median openings, where vehicles have a tendency to slow down suddenly for taking U-turns. The installation of traffic signal lights had been included in the first phase development of the 5.6-kilometre stretch and Keltron entrusted with the work. But even a week after the inauguration, the government has not taken steps to install traffic signal lights.
It is learnt that the installation of traffic signals will be delayed further owing to non-receipt of funds from Road Safety Authority. Keltron has handed over the cost estimate for installing signals at eight spots on the stretch to the PWD. The total estimate is Rs 1.10 crore, of which Rs 88 lakh is for installing the signals at Neeramankara, Pappanamcode, Karakkamandapam, Vellayani Junction and Nemom. The remaining Rs 22 lakh has been estimated recently by the nodal agency after creating two additional median openings at Thulavila near Pappanamcode and Old Karakkamandapam. Besides, Keltron had laid the cables for the signal lights under the road before tarring the stretch.
According to PWD Executive Engineer Dinky Dikruse, the fund for installing the signal lights has not been received so far from Road Safety Authority and this has led to further delay in the process. “We are waiting for the fund to be released from the Road Safety Authority for a long time. We don’t know why the authority is reluctant to release the fund. However, we are ready to start the work as soon as the money is released,” said Dikruse.
Road Safety Commissioner Tomin J Thachankary was unavailable for comment.
Though the stretch is replete with lane-markings and sign boards, a major chunk of motorists are least bothered about lane discipline and traffic rules. City Police Commissioner G Sparjan Kumar said that he would rearrange the Traffic policemen on the stretch and enforcement would be intensified on a war-footing. “Several instances of speeding on the stretch have been brought to our attention. Above all, the public also should obey traffic rules, to bring mishaps down. Hence, we will conduct an awareness campaign in the area,” said Kumar.