Footpaths and pavements in Kochi are becoming death traps. What are the steps being taken by Kochi Corporation to ensure safe, smooth and wide footpaths for pedestrians?

Mayor Tony Chammany: In modern city planning, pedestrian movement has been given top priority. However, in a city like ours that has grown without proper planning for years there is absolute lack of proper footpaths and pavements and also pedestrian facilities. The city administration has taken serious note of this issue and many schemes and projects are on the anvil. The annual budget of the corporation for the year 2012-2013 has many projects incorporated to address the lacunae. We have already initiated the work for having well designed footpaths, and unlike earlier times many parts of the city have tiled and well-maintained pavements now.

Another problem affecting pedestrian movement is encroachments by shopkeepers, residents, pavement dwellers and street vendors. Such encroachments will be dealt with strictly. Flex boards, hoardings and advertisements are another major hindrance to the free movement of pedestrians. A bylaw in this regard will be in place soon.

The new Salim Rajan Road overbridge expected to be commissioned in April will decongest Pullepady, North and South bridges. But the narrow approach road on the western side near the KSRTC bus stand and sharp curves – in front of the KSRTC stand and another one in front of Ambedkar Stadium — on the stretch are yet to be widened. Will there be any possible steps from the authorities to widen the approach road?

District Collector Sheikh Pareeth: A proposal by DMRC for widening the Rajaji Road from M.G. Road to KSRTC Bus Stand to a 4-lane road has already been submitted to the Transport Department. This is under government consideration. This also includes acquisition of 4 cents of land for the widening of narrow stretch near the KSRTC bus stand.

These proposals will be considered at the next co-ordination meeting by the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., and a decision will be taken to ease the traffic congestion. I hope that the work will be approved and completed within 3 months.

Two traffic signals system in the busy Vyttila Junction were knocked down by careless motorists sometime back. This is causing traffic snarls in the area. What steps are being taken to restore the signals system to ease the traffic block along the bypass?

Policy Commissioner K.G. James: We have intimated Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, the sponsor of the signal system here, about the damage. The company will be doing the needful in coordination with KELTRON, which installed the traffic signals.

Compiled by K.K. Sankaran

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