Few other divisions of the Kochi Corporation have as many infrastructure projects lined up as the Vyttila division.

Few other divisions of the Kochi Corporation have as many infrastructure projects lined up as the Vyttila division.

Vyttila is the biggest junction in the State and is home to the inter-modal mobility hub. A railway halt is expected at the adjacent Ponnurunni, so that Vyttila can lay claim to being a hub for road, metro-rail, railway and waterway transport. These peculiarities have together led to a steep increase in number of vehicles and pedestrians passing through the junction. Still, the two flyovers mooted many years ago by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the junction have not materialized. Neither has work begun for the ring-road project which was announced in the State budget.

Age of change

Though government agencies have been unable to do many projects that come under their realm, a sure-footed councillor – a first timer at that – Sunitha Dixon, has been able to bring about many changes in the ward during the past 20 months.

“Two bio-toilets will soon be installed at the junction. It was my dream project. I also initiated the renovation and clean-up initiative of the Kunnara Park, using Rs.3.25 lakh,” she said. A new road – P. T. Paul Road too was realized after acquiring some ‘puramboke’ land.

Water logging has been a perennial problem in the division and Ms. Dixon spoke of how Rs.15 lakh was spent to raise a drain on the Ponnurunni-Vyttila Road. Most roads in the division owned by the Kochi Corporation are well-maintained, as they were resurfaced and care taken to prevent water logging. They include the RSAC Road, Cosmos Road and numerous side roads of the Kaniampuzha Road. But she is cut up with the PWD because of the agency’s inability to build a durable road leading to the mobility hub. “People have been on the warpath demanding a pothole-free road, but the agency has not initiated any tangible action.”

Proper drainage

She has also taken up with the NHAI the need to ensure proper drainage on either side of the NH 47 bypass that passes through Vyttila. “The agency’s drains are clogged with mud and dirt. Slabs have to be laid over them at many places. We also need the agency’s cooperation in re-opening a few drains on the service roads that were levelled by unscrupulous shop owners. As a result, the service roads get inundated during the rains,” she said.

On the proposal to widen the RSAC Road, she said that this will be done once the Ponnurunni overbridge is opened to traffic. Roads in Vyttila need more sign boards since newcomers are unable to locate places. The junction also needs more shelters for commuters awaiting buses. The NHAI must redress the woes that pedestrians face since they often risk their life while crossing the road. The exit from the mobility hub is too narrow and this would be redressed once the Vyttila-Pettah Road is widened into four-lane,” Ms. Dixon said.

Street vendors

Referring to the hassles to free movement of traffic caused by street vendors and encroachers at Vyttila junction and the road leading to the hub, she said that most of them enjoy political support.

So what are her plans for the immediate future? “The next project on the agenda is to build a walkway along the Champakara Canal, for which the tender is ready. Families living in Thalamittam island are encountering paucity of drinking water and this has to be looked into. An anganwadi has been planned in Kaniampuzha.”

Her rival candidate in the Corporation election - Bindu Peetambaran spoke of how Ms. Dixon has been ‘doing some good work for the division.’

“The clearance for a few of the projects was ready by the time she assumed charge as councillor. Still, water logging on roads has reduced following her initiative. Priority must be accorded to decongest Vyttila junction, so that motorists and pedestrians face fewer hassles at the junction,” Ms. Peethambaran said.

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