CRIP work, including development of bus bays, is likely to be delayed
The felling of avenue trees near RR Lamp, Vellayambalam, and near treasury buildings at Statue to ensure free flow of traffic, visibility of traffic signals, and construction of bus bays on corridors developed under the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP) has run into rough weather with a high-power committee turning down the request.
Now, Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Ltd. (TRDCL), the concessionaire of the CRIP project, will not be able to develop a bus bay, , near Vellayambalam junction on the road leading to Kowdiar, and ensure free left for vehicles coming from the YMCA side and proceeding to Pulimood and East Fort.
Road users, especially motorists, are at risk at RR Lamp junction as permission has been denied to cut down three trees on the left side of the road leading to Vellayambalam that jut into the carriageway, road safety experts say. The carriageway has a width of 6.5 metres against 9 metres that is needed for buses to smoothly negotiate the curve and proceed towards Vellayambalam.
“In fact, the carriageway from RR Lamp to the front of the Corporation buildings had been reduced to single line on account of these three trees,” sources said.
Giant trees on the Peroorkada-Vazhayila corridor, in front of the Cantonment police station, and a ficus tree at Kuravankonam junction on the Pattom-Kowdiar corridor are also posing a problem for project officials as environmentalists had opposed their cutting down. The congestion at Kuravankonam junction can be avoided to a certain extent and visibility of the traffic signal enhanced if the tree is cut down and free left is provided, the experts say.
The Assistant Forest Conservator, Social Forestry Division, has informed the Project Engineer of the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) that oversees the CRIP work that construction of an oval-shaped bus bay is possible between two trees at Vellayambalam and that the sketch should be altered.
At RR Lamp, the Assistant Forest Conservator has said that the trees were not a hindrance to traffic as they are seven metres away from the median. The three ficus trees in front of the treasury buildings at Statue were also not a hindrance to the traffic and a taxi stand has been functioning under them for the past 40 years. The Assistant Forest Conservator has said that the directive was issued on the basis of inspections by the high-power committee, which was set up by the government following complaints of felling down of trees while developing the CRIP corridors.
TRDCL Associate Vice-President Anil Kumar Pandala said, “Vested interests are trying to scuttle the development. No one who stands for the development of the city will object to this. There should not be any compromise on trees that are to be cut down for the smooth flow of vehicular traffic and that endanger the lives of those moving along the roads.”