“PWD is willing to take over Thammanam-Pullepady Road if Kochi Corporation formally hands it over to us,” said PWD Secretary T.O. Sooraj.

This is a pre-requisite for PWD to request the Revenue Department to acquire land required for widening the road. Ideally, a four-lane road needs a 22-metre width. The Revenue Department could take over land that was given (many years ago) as free surrender by land owners on either side, he said.

Widening Thammanam-Pullepady Road is critical to decongest Banerjee Road and SA Road that are choked because of Kochi Metro works and the steep increase in vehicles.

Mr. Sooraj said the Ernakulam Superintendent Engineer of PWD has been directed to submit a report on the possibility of widening areas where land was available so that PWD could widen these reaches. This will provide commuters with temporary respite from acute traffic snarls in the city.

Metro stakeholders, residents’ associations, merchant bodies and others have been demanding urgent steps to widen Padma Junction-Kathrikadavu reach of the road so that vehicles could skip bottlenecked parts of Banerjee Road and SA Road.

Mr. Sooraj said the road could be widened up to the point where International Stadium Link Road begins. “The PWD can widen and resurface the road within six months of necessary land being handed over."

He added that PWD would request the State government during Wednesday’s meeting convened by Chief Minister to announce a package similar to the one for Kochi Metro to directly acquire land on Thammanam-Pullepady Road through negotiated purchase. “This can avoid delays being encountered in view of the provisions of the new Land Acquisition Act.”

Corporation blamed

A senior Revenue Department official rubbished corporation’s stand that Rs. 300 crore was needed for land acquisition. “All that is required is Rs. 75 crore, of which State government gave corporation Rs. 25 crore. Our land acquisition survey is over. All that is required is Rs 50 crore for land acquisition.”

Sources in the Revenue Department further blamed Corporation for its apathy in widening the road for which land acquisition began in 1995. “A huge chunk of land required was given as free surrender by land owners who were aware of the road’s potential to decongest arterial roads. The land acquisition process will have to begin afresh if there is further delay in widening the road since this will compound matters.”

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