A ‘hole’some package

With smart development projects in limbo, the city’s road network remains a big mess 

Published: 01st December 2022 01:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st December 2022 01:20 AM   |  A+A-

Motorists navigating a ruined Kaithamukku-Punnapuram Road

Motorists navigating a ruined Kaithamukku-Punnapuram Road. (Photo | B P Deepu, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The deplorable condition of roads continues to make life difficult for motorists and local residents in the capital city. Development and maintenance of roads have come to a halt following the suspension of the ambitious Smart Road project under the Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (SCTL). 

As per records, SCTL had taken up the work of 40 roads in the corporation limits for the project. Currently, lack of maintenance and intermittent rains have turned the half-done roads into a mess.
Adding to the traffic woes are the unending protests, blockades and traffic diversions. With the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) and Christmas around the corner, the city is likely to get more congested.

Vanchiyoor-Pulimoodu Road, a key path
linking the district court and MG Road,
has been in a deplorable condition 

City residents, understandably, are frustrated with the official apathy. “They trumpeted the Smart Road project and created a lot of hype, but nothing happened on the ground,” says, Ravilal Gold, a Vazhuthacaud resident “There is absolutely no discipline on roads, as they are in a dilapidated condition. The Kalabhavan Mani road — an important diversion to reach Thampanoor was shut down for months.

They reopened it, but without making it motorable. Accidents are a regular affair in the stretch. Also, there is no space for pedestrians.” A senior corporation official reveals that there are no immediate plans to make the roads motorable. “Several roads under multiple agencies, including Kerala Road Fund Board and the corporation, were included in the Smart Road project,” the official says.

“Now, it has been decided to re-tender the project. Road works will begin only after the tendering process.” As the initial project hit a roadblock, the KRFB re-tendered the work to complete the Manaveeyam Veedhi project, too. “The first contractor failed to deliver the project; we will open the new tender within 15 days,” says the official.

“We have made the vetting process more stringent, so as to ensure the timely execution of the project. It’s really tough to get quality contractors.” Road safety expert Anil Kumar Pandala says the Vellayambalam-Vazhuthacaud stretch is “in ruins”. He also highlights that a manhole cover on the road juts out to the level of the footpath.

“Such shoddy work exposes the apathy and inefficiency of governmental agencies,” says Anil, former managing director of Trivandrum Road Development Company. “There is absolute chaos on the city roads. And, by turning off the signal system, the traffic authorities worsen the situation.”

City resident Vinod Kumar says commuting has become more time-consuming. “The sad part is that, even after months, there is not even a slight improvement in the situation,” he adds. “And on top of that, political protests and blockades have made road networks a mess.”


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