At sharp 10 a.m. on Sunday, five activists of a fledgling anti-corruption outfit started rolling on their backs on the uneven, bruised turf of the East Hill-Chakkorathukulam Road in the city.
For the past three years, the busy road has been rendered non-motorable and become a source of headache for commuters even as authorities maintain an ominous silence.
The Anti-Corruption Movement of India (ACMI) — its activists claim it is fashioned after the Aam Admi Party — is now leading the residents’ campaign against the official apathy.
As five members of the outfit did the shayanapradakshinam, those cheering themon called this protest the public’s refusal to keep mum anymore. They wanted the road to be repaired.
“Three years ago, authorities started digging up the road to install sewage pipes. Later, the work came to a halt after allegations rose that the pipes used were sub-standard. Now, they have abandoned the work mid-way,” Sudesh Kumar M.C., a resident of East Hill and vice-president of ACMI, said.
Residents said the road was an important link to the city for commuters from Balussery, Edakkad, and Kakkodi.
Local councillor C.S. Sathyabhama termed Sunday’s protest a “farce.” “The road renovation work was undertaken by the Ports Department three years ago. But the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) came in the middle and said they wanted to lay the sewage pipes. I had exhorted the people to protest against this. But they kept silent then,” she said.
“The KSUDP had filled only that part of the road they dug. Later, the Port Department said it was not feasible to complete the road work on its past estimate. Hence the work got stuck,” she said.
She said a meeting had been called in the Mayor’s chambers on Monday to resolve the issue.