At a time when the district administration faces protests from residents over land acquisition for road-widening, here is a case in reverse. Locals along the Vellimadukunnu-Kovoor Road have decided to agitate against the delay to widen their road even after they gave up land over a year ago.
Upping the ante, they have decided to form a human chain from one end of the ill-fated road to the other on April 25 in a bid to draw the attention of the authorities.
A Right to Information request given by one of the residents, Puthussery Vishwanathan, to the Public Works Department (PWD) shows that a tender was indeed invited to fill up the potholes and clear the surface of the road for an estimated Rs.12 lakh.
The reply dated February 28, 2013, from the office of the Executive Engineer (Roads Division), Kozhikode, says a tender for Rs.11,08,641 has been confirmed too.
The RTI reply, however, says the work has not been completed and no bills have been received for the work done.
“The work undertaken has not been finished,” says the cryptic reply.
“About two months ago, after the RTI, they did some repair work on some parts of the road, but they did not touch the Kovoor side of the thoroughfare where the bad state of the road has made it dangerous for pedestrians. Not only that, a broken water authority pipe is leaking and the road is now one big puddle,” Mr. Vishwanathan says.
In a statement issued by Vellimadukunnu-Kovoor Road Action Committee, the residents say how their road is one of the six road-widening projects envisaged by the Kozhikode City Road Improvement Projects to give the district a face-lift.
“Unlike other places, land owners voiced no complaints against acquisition of land required for the road-widening. The residents had with total consent given their respective land to the revenue authorities, which led to the completion of acquisition proceedings by the end of February 2012. The land was given to the PWD shortly after for going ahead with the project,” the statement says
Official sources, however, say widening work of the road would be done simultaneously with that of the other roads listed in the KCRIP, including the arterial Stadium-Puthiyara stretch, Kalluthankadavu-Karaparamba road, Gandhi Road-Mini bypass road, for which acquisition has already been done and the land has been handed over to PWD for work. The work is expected to be implemented through the Roads and Bridges Corporation, sources say.
“This was one of the first pucca roads built in Kozhikode in 1980. Residents have co-operated with the authorities at every turn. Still there is so much delay,” Mr. Vishwanathan says.
Keywords: Vellimadukunnu-Kovoor Road