Footpaths on city roads, already in a shambles, are being hogged by motorists for parking vehicles and salesmen for their makeshift shops

Walking on Kochi roads is fast turning into a luxury, as city footpaths turn pedestrian traps. Pavements on Kochi roads are being hogged by unscrupulous motorists for parking vehicles and salesmen for their makeshift shops.

The onset of the Onam season will see pedestrians being almost elbowed out of the footpaths, with seasonal vendors occupying these open spaces in large numbers. Efforts by the Corporation of Cochin to evict these salesmen have failed.

Large gaps between concrete slabs that make up what passes for footpaths in most parts of the city can ensnare even a careful pedestrian.

Holes that have been dug by the side of the roads to drain storm water are big enough to trap your feet in them.

Footpaths along MG Road and Banerjee Road — the busiest roads in the city — are in poor condition and pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads. Pedestrians also encounter dozens of obstacles on the footpaths. For instance, the footpath on the southern side of Banerjee Road is dotted with concrete boulders at a height of three to four feet. Pedestrians have to go around it to avoid getting hurt.

The footpath on the western side of MG Road, towards the north end, has gaping holes in it. A displaced concrete slab stands almost vertically, obstructing free movement.

Works Standing Committee chairman of the Kochi Corporation Soumini Jain said the Public Works Department maintained the footpaths along the arterial MG Road and Banerjee Road.

A senior official of the PWD said that these footpaths would be attended to immediately. The estimate for the work was being made, the official added.

Ms. Jain said work on the footpaths along the link roads in the city were taken up by the corporation. Improving drainage facilities and setting up footpaths over them had been taken up before the rains. She said each of the divisions was allotted Rs. 12 lakh for such works last year. The works were carried out with funds from the corporation, Plan funds and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

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