Satish, a resident of Manamel Kaleeswara Temple, Janatha Junction, Vyttila, gets up every day and sprinkles water on the road to contain the dust. He hit on the new routine after his son Neeraj, an LKG student, was recently diagnosed with a respiratory illness caused by a dust-induced allergy.
Though the moisture quickly dries up, Satish hopes his small act would give his child a slight respite from the allergic dust.
Like Neeraj, several kids and the aged in the area have developed allergy-induced illness because of the dust generated from the red sand used to fill potholes on the road running through the area. The road connects Janatha Road, Vyttila, to Panampilly Nagar.
Saudamini, a 55-year-old woman, living here for the past five decades, is another victim of the callous attitude of authorities. She too has been experiencing bouts of breathlessness since potholes on the road were filled using red earth.
“Red dust is invading the interiors of buildings in the area. It has also gathered on the windowsills and doorsteps of houses,” she said.
The road was damaged after heavy vehicles transporting construction material to a nearby worksite repeatedly plied the route. Later, the road was dug up for laying underground power cables. The authorities tried to make the road motorable using red sand and rubble, however, it worsened the plight of residents.
Sunita Madhu, another resident, said walking kids to school had become a risky affair with heavy vehicles speeding through the narrow road. The kids often complained of red eye and allergic diseases.
“Our woes are here to stay as authorities plan to repair the road only after laying water supply pipelines for an upcoming housing project,” Ms. Madhu said.
The damaged road has also affected the livelihood of fish vendors. “I have to push my cycle through the stretch as it is impossible to ride through the area,” he said.
Sheeja Jose Maleth, another resident, said driving through the area had become extremely difficult as only half the width of the road was navigable. “Kids are finding it difficult to move along the road as the carriage way has been reduced to half,” she said.
Ratnamma Raju, corporation councillor representing the area, said the tarring of the road would be completed before March. Trenching was done for laying the cable of Kerala State Electricity Board and the dug up area was levelled using red earth and rubble, she said.
Ms. Ratnamma, who is also the chairperson of the Tax Appeal of the Standing Committee of the corporation, said proponents of an upcoming housing project in the area had sought permission for laying water supply pipelines along the route.
The corporation had not yet granted permission to cut open the road. Permission for trenching would be given only if the firm offers to restore the road, she said.
“If the proposal does not work, the Kochi Corporation will carry out the work on its own before March,” she said.