Thampanoor police say handrails not removed
Mystery surrounds the disappearance of 15-metre-long handrails erected at the busy Ayurveda College junction as part of the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP).
The lack of handrails poses a risk to the safety of pedestrians, as the stretch houses leading textile shops, jewellery outlets, other shops and business establishments, and cinemas.
The 1.2-metre-high handrails acted as a safety barricade preventing pedestrians from walking on the arterial road. The handrails were found missing last Monday by Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Ltd. (TRDCL), the concessionaire of CRIP.
Local people and road users have been having a harrowing time since the handrails went missing.
The TRDCL authorities were of the view that the safety barricades were “removed” as they had objected to a request by a jewellery shop to ensure smooth passage of vehicles through the footpath.
The Thampanoor police refused to accept the complaint of the TRDCL in connection with the incident. The TRDCL has petitioned the City Police Commissioner in this regard.
The TRDCL and the Kerala Road Fund Board, the special purpose vehicle under the Public Works Department that oversees CRIP, have now decided to take legal action as they have suffered a loss of Rs.30,000. They also want the safety barricades to be restored at the junction.
The TRDCL has installed handrails of 90 cm to 1.2-metre height at all busy junctions on the CRIP corridors. Under the guidelines of the Indian Roads Congress, handrails are to be provided on all roads leading away from a junction for a safe distance.
When contacted, Sheen Tharayil, Circle Inspector, Thampanoor, said the complaint was not accepted as the handrails were not removed as alleged by the TRDCL. The police had evidence of the handrails detaching from the concrete base around 4 p.m. on Sunday after large crowds thronged a shop.
A TRDCL official said preventing pedestrians from straying into the path of vehicles was a basic safety requirement and should be enforced. The Kerala Road Safety Authority had to intervene when the handrails were objected to by the shop owners in front of the Secretariat and at the Kuravankonam junction.