THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city corporation remains unresponsive to the demands for a wider footpath near its office at RR Lamp junction in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) had written to the corporation enquiring about the action taken to widen the 0.75m-wide footpath three months ago, following a letter forwarded by Anil Kumar Pandala, former project director of Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL). However, the civic body has neither taken any action nor replied to the KRFB.
Pandala has been actively advocating the need for a wider footpath on the junction that abuts the MG Road and Vellayambalam. He has also written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and PWD secretary to intervene in the matter.
As per the letter by Pandala, the city corporation had earlier built a small transaction counter in the area, sealing all possibilities for a land surrender. Consequently, the road was constructed on the available land, resulting in just a 0.75m-wide footpath adjacent to the corporation building. The counter constructed earlier now appears to have been demolished, making way for the proposed Integrated Control Centre for the Smart City project. “With a little extra effort, the plans for the Smart City can be easily redone. A wider junction at RR Lamp is a public requirement and an essentiality,” Pandala said in the letter to the PWD secretary.
According to Pandala, the area needs a minimum 4m-wide footpath based on the traffic studies conducted in 2003 as part of the Thiruvananthapuram city road improvement project, and the bids were placed based on this.
“The construction of the Integrated Command and Control Centre on the premises of the corporation itself is unscientific. This is an appropriate time to correct the earlier mistake. If the government does not hand over land for the development of roads, how can it expect the public to give up land for development? asked Pandala.
A KRFB official said the corporation has not replied to KRFB’s letter. “We intimated the corporation regarding the demand a few months ago. However, nothing has turned positive. Widening the footpath is indeed necessary,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the corporation authorities said they did not get any letter or communication from the KRFB. “I have not received any letter from the KRFB. However, I got a letter from Pandala a month ago. To widen the footpath, we have to demolish the compound wall of the corporation office and it is not practical. Footpaths in several areas have different widths. People can use the footpath irrespective of its width. So there is no point in widening it,” an official said.