Mayor Tony Chammany, Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju draw flak for criticising actor Jayasurya for filling up potholes on city roads

A storm of protest is brewing over the denunciation of actor Jayasurya for filling up potholes in the city. Mayor Tony Chammany and Public Works Department Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju had termed the actor’s intervention as a publicity stunt.

City resident and former Additional Chief Secretary P.C. Cyriac said Jayasurya and his friends had volunteered to fill potholes, on Menaka-S.A. Road stretch, as government agencies had failed to do so.

They should have been lauded for the initiative. They decided to act after a lorry mowed down two youths at Kureekkad near Tripunithura after their bike tripped on a pothole, he said.

Instead of trading charges, the corporation should have topped roads with a layer of chipping carpet. Unlike other cities Kochi had failed to hold contractors accountable for bad roads. The civic body had not yet implemented resolutions it had passed at a road development summit held a year ago, he said.

The corporation, PWD and NHAI could not get away by blaming the rains for potholed roads, Mr. Cyriac said.

Advancement in technology enabled roadworks to be taken up during the rains.

“Busy roads must be resurfaced as per standards followed in Thiruvanathapuram under the City Roads Improvement Programme (CRIP),” he said.

Curbs on rights

K.N. Sunilkumar, secretary of the LDF’s parliamentary party in the corporation, said the Mayor’s rebuttal restricted the fundamental right of a citizen to protest against government inaction. The Mayor took credit for the durable roads built by Kochi Metro Rail Limited, even sideroads in the city were in a pathetic state.

Instead of wasting time criticising ‘Good Samaritans’ like Jayasurya the Mayor should order a probe into allegations of corruption in roadworks undertaken by the civic body. Mr. Chammany had to focus on preventing accidents and reducing traffic snarls, Mr. Sunilkumar said.

The corporation has not yet started repairing damaged roads owned by it.

“We have directed contractors to repair roads, if they were damage within a year of being black topped,” a senior official said.

The civic body was not restoring roads using wet mix macadam (WMM) as it was expensive. The technology was used by the PWD-NH wing to restore approach roads to Edapally overbridge. A list of roads to be upgraded using BMBC technology had been prepared, he said.

PWD Secretary T.O. Sooraj said the agency would begin repairs on the severely-potholed Palarivattom-Kakkanad Road from Sunday night. The contract to resurface the stretch had been awarded seven months ago, but the contractor began work just a week before the rains. That was why the road was damaged in the rain, Mr. Sooraj said. Palarivattom Junction would be restored using inter-locking blocks, he said.

Kureekkad accident

Meanwhile, the Chottanikkara Police have issued a notice to PWD’s assistant engineer of Mulanthruthy section following the accident at Kureekkad.

An officer probing the case said the PWD’s complicity would be probed. The contractor had postponed roadworks at the site following rain. The bikers tripped on the flooded pothole and were run over by a lorry, he said.

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