Restive at the uncertainty over the inauguration of the Ponnurunni overbridge and the inordinate delay in completing drainage works, members of the public forcibly removed barricades and allowed motorists to use the bridge.
But buses that were temporarily using alternative routes when bridge works were on have not resumed service through the bridge. The bridge’s commissioning is already delayed by about a year.
Further more, protests are in the pipeline against the unscientific way in which the bridge and service roads have been built, and the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala’s (RBDCK) decision to impose toll.
The CPI(M)’s Vytilla area secretary N. Satheesh said that the party would not permit collection of toll under any circumstance. “A major share of the bridge’s expenses was met from JNNURM, Railway and State government funds. But RBDCK is planning to collect toll. This cannot be allowed.” Former Deputy Mayor C.K. Manisankar said that apart from JNNURM funds, Kochi Corporation bore the expenses for land acquisition. “The previous LDF council had directed RBDCK to club toll collection for Pullepady and Ponurunni overbridges. Still, RBDCK intends to unilaterally introduce toll at Ponnurunni, located well within the city.”
He expressed doubts how heavy vehicles coming from the 15-metre-wide Subhash Bose Road would cross over to Vyttila through the new bridge’s service road which is hardly three metres wide in many parts. “In its present form, the bridge appears to be a sheer waste of money since vehicles from Thammanam will not be able to cross over to Subhash Bose road. Neither will vehicles from this road be able to enter the bridge, because of unplanned construction.”
A slew of other political parties, organisations and residents’ associations too are on the warpath, denouncing the proposed toll.