WHITHER ROAD: 5-km Mulavukad road in sorry state for more than a decade
Sanam P. Thoppil, an anganwadi teacher in Mulavukad panchayat, says a silent prayer every time she takes her two-wheeler out.
Ever since she was thrown off her vehicle during a ride through the panchayat’s bumpy and potholed road, giving her a backache as a constant companion, she has realised that only divine intervention will make sure she gets back home in one piece.
“The hardships faced by the people here, especially women, every day because of the condition of the road are beyond words. Most of them work as domestic helps in multiple households and for them to complete the work they need to start out as early as 7 a.m. But thanks to the lack of transportation facilities, they barely manage it,” said Ms. Thoppil. The 5.5-km-long road that winds through the heart of the panchayat, placed right next to the city, has been in a dilapidated condition for more than one decade.
Such is the state of the road that all the 13 private buses in the panchayat stopped operating services with the last one winding up operations three months ago. At present, only one KSRTC service operates on this route. Autorickshaw drivers often refuse to ferry people to the panchayat. The look on the face of the people on the mere mention of the road tells their tale of woe.
Radha P.S., an ICDS supervisor in Mulavukad, has no difficulty in reaching High Court Junction from her house in Alappuzha. But the short trip from the junction to the panchayat is always a struggle. “No matter how early I reach High Court Junction very rarely do I manage to reach in time for a meeting or an assignment,” she says.
Shyam Satheeshan, a Diploma of Computer Application student from the panchayat, is often at the mercy of the motorists passing through the Container Terminal Road as he often hitchhikes his way to and from his institute.
Panchayat president A.K. Dinakaran said both administrative and public apathy are to be blamed for the sorry condition of the road for the past 12 years.
The technical issue of receiving only a single tender for the first phase work of the 2.5 km-stretch has hindered the road development project.
Mr. Dinakaran said the entire population of the panchayat would stage an indefinite dharna in front of the secretariat unless the Cabinet gives its approval for the work by November 14. Rajeev M.R, convener of Mulavukad Grama Vikasana Samithi, succinctly described the plight of the people.
“The panchayat technically ceased to be an island when the Goshree Bridges were opened back in 2004. Our problems have only worsened since then. Earlier we at least had 14 boats to ensure smooth transportation. Now, that number has dropped to two as we are no longer islanders,” he said.