Kerala PWD planning 15-crore project to revamp MG Road drainage system

Awaiting admin approval, the project promises to address severe waterlogging in the area.
A poorly-maintained footpath at MG Road
A poorly-maintained footpath at MG RoadT P Sooraj

KOCHI: Imagine MG Road with sleek, modern drains replacing the outdated infrastructure while solving long-standing waterlogging issues. This long-pending dream of Kochiites may soon become a reality, going by the public works department’s ambitious plan to rebuild the drainage system along the arterial road.

The Rs 15-crore plan was revealed in the district administration’s report filed before the Kerala High Court. Awaiting administrative approval, the project promises to address severe waterlogging and change the look of MG Road.

According to the district collector’s report, MG Road — maintained by PWD (roads division) — has undergone safety enhancements. There was a risk of accidents as tiles and slabs on the footpaths had been displaced during cleaning. The PWD has since replaced all damaged slabs, making the footpaths safe. Additionally, proposals have been submitted to pave tiles and erecting handrails from Madhava Pharmacy Junction to Thevara, at an estimated cost of Rs 2.14 crore. Road work and footpath renovation are also in progress at various locations, including Moulana Azad Road, P T Jacob Road, Father Mathew Kothakath Road, and Amaravathy Road, the report said.

The district administration pointed out that more than half of Chittoor Road within the Kochi municipality lacks footpaths. In areas without footpaths, slabs have been placed over the drains. While tender procedures are under way for urgent repair of culverts, drains and damaged slabs on the road, the police department has begun taking strict action against illegal encroachments and parking on footpaths, the collector’s report said.

A committee chaired by the collector and including officials from KMRL, CSML, Kochi corporation, municipalities of Kalamassery, Tripunithura and Maradu, PWD, GCDA, GIDA, and the police has been constituted to monitor the activities of “Operation Footpath.” The committee will meet at least once a month.

Regarding the Cochin Smart Mission projects, the collector said the agency has completed seven road projects in and around the city. These projects include restoring drainage systems, resurfacing roads, enhancing pedestrian safety with road markings, and standardising roads and footpaths according to the ministry of road transport and highways specifications.

When the matter came up for hearing, Justice Devan Ramachandran observed: “It is unnerving how much the citizens of this city should suffer, particularly during monsoons, when the pedestrian areas are, in most parts, extremely dangerous. It reflects a lack of priority and exposes a belief that pedestrians are not of value.”

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The New Indian Express