THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has started covering the Mild Steel (MS) pipeline work at AKG Nagar, Peroorkada, by removing the outdated pre-stressed concrete pipe, after putting the locals through several months of hardship.
But their woes continue unabated as the KWA is using a vibrator to level the road before tarring, instead of using a road roller. The residents allege that, with Friday's summer rain, the vibrator-pressed metal road has since become a pool of mud.
The labourers deployed by KWA had started digging the Peroorkada-Kudappanakunnu stretch last September to lay MS pipeline in place of existing concrete pipes which had become weak resulting in frequent pipe bursts.
This led KWA authorities to seek funds from Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board which saw the state government sanction Rs 60 crore for laying of metal pipe on the 12-km Peroorkada - Manvila stretch. Local residents alleged that the exhaustive work is being done in an unscientific manner.
"The use of vibrator to press the metal on the road before the tarring process is not foolproof. The summer rains have washed away the metal resulting in a pool of mud. We are fed up with filing complaints before the authorities," S Mohanan, secretary, AKG Nagar Residents Association, told The New Indian Express.
Local leadership of the Congress and BJP had held protest meetings against the apathy of the contracting company based in Muvattupuzha. They even laid siege to the house where the labourers and officials were staying.
It is learned that the contractor was awarded the work before the pandemic outbreak. Now the manufacturers have backed out from supplying the pipe, demanding higher price which has put the contractor poorer by Rs 18 crore.
It will not be surprising if the contractor ditches the work half way. If so, the KWA will have to re-tender the work which will only cause inordinate delay in completing the project. A senior KWA official told The New Indian Express that, so far, only close to 4 km of MS Pipe has been laid out of the 12-km stretch.
"The work should have been completed within 18 months. But due to the pandemic, the work has been delayed. We are currently using the vibrator to compact the loose sand and metal. It will take some time for the road tarring to begin as the road has to be made compact by using the vibrator. We cannot use the road roller as it will cause damage to the newly laid MS pipe," said a senior KWA official.