Kerala govt yet to take a final call on proposed underpass at Balaramapuram

The underpass would require a widening of the road to 38.8 metres  for a 470-meter length.
PWD Minister P A Mohammed Riyas
PWD Minister P A Mohammed Riyas

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lack of clarity prevails in the proposed underpass in the Kodinada- Vazhimukku stretch as a section of traders has voiced their opposition to it. Despite the Public Works Minister P A Mohammed Riyas clarifying that the congested narrow stretch of Balaramapuram will be widened to 30.2 meters as part of the development plan, it seems that the underpass at the junction might be abandoned.

The underpass would require a widening of the road to 38.8 metres  for a 470-meter length. Ten days ago, a group of traders from  Balaramapuram met with the Public Works Minister and demanded the scrapping of the underpass  project. They argued that the opening of Mukkola-Karode NH 66 has significantly reduced traffic along Balaramapuram. The traders also expressed  concerns that the underpass is unnecessary and would negatively impact business in the town. 

According to S K Jayakumar, general secretary of the  Karamana-Kaliyikkavila development action council, the state government and the traders in  Balaramapuram had an in-principle agreement on holding  the underpass project. “Currently, there is no work related to the underpass project. Instead,  the government is moving ahead with land acquisition  for widening to 30.2 metres. Once the Vizhinjam port is operational, Balaramapuram will be more congested. So the road development should be  futuristic. Hence, we are planning a protest march on July 19 demanding an underpass or flyover at  Balaramapuram,” he said. 

An action council formed  for the project’s development plans to stage a protest march toward the Neyyattinkara taluk office on July 19, urging the state government to  expedite the underpass project.  However, the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), the executing agency for the project, stated that the underpass project  is still ongoing. 

When contacted, the PWD minister’s office said that a traffic survey was conducted recently, and a decision on whether the  underpass should be constructed or not has not been taken so far. 
Meanwhile, a top official of KRFB’s Project Management Unit stated that they did  not receive any direction from the minister to scrap the underpass project. “We are going ahead with the project.

Once we get the land from the  revenue department, we will start the proceedings to construct the underpass. The underpass will start 100 metres away from the Thiruvananthapuram  side,” the official said.  Meanwhile, the land acquisition for the widening of the Kodinada to Vazhimukku stretch is progressing rapidly. Jacob  Sanjay John, Deputy Collector  (Land Acquisition), stated that compensation distribution will commence within two months. 

“The valuation of the  structures on both sides of  Balaramapuram is underway. The work is going on at a fast pace, and compensation awarded to landowners on the left side  is likely to begin next month. Once a property is attached, we will hand it over to KRFB soon to ensure that the tender proceedings can start at the  earliest,” he said.

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