The half-a-kilometre road that takes visitors to Kochi’s prestigious InfoPark in Kakkanad and, which will eventually be the gateway to the celebrated SmartCity, is anything but stylish.
Clouds of dust rise up as vehicles pass by the road riddled with potholes. Pedestrians, with no footpaths in sight, bring out their handkerchiefs to keep off the dust.
The poor condition of the road causes traffic jams during rush hours as vehicles vie for the best portions of the road and pedestrians are pushed to the limit of their patience. Water-logging on the western side of the road has added to their troubles.
On Tuesday morning, autorickshaw drivers took to the road demanding that the road be repaired, which they alleged had been pending for a long time. “We expected it to be repaired before Onam,” said one of them, furious that the authorities did not even pay attention to how vehicles were parked in large numbers in no-parking zones.
A senior official in the Public Works Department said the road, in a shambles during the rains, had been temporarily repaired when the rains relented. However, it needed to be thoroughly redone. Rs. 25 lakh worth project is pending approval. The official was optimistic that it would be sanctioned within a week and that the work could be tendered in a fortnight’s time.
Workers at the IT firms said the authorities were not aware of the consequences of bad roads. The InfoPark employs around a lakh people and “the road put us to shame when we bring business delegations to our offices”, said an HR manager on Tuesday.
Shijoy, an autorickshaw driver, said drivers like him had to spend a lot of money in repairing vehicles that break down due to bad roads. Autorickshaw drivers complained that even the pre-paid counter that opened recently did not have enough space for the drivers and lacked amenities.