Rs.3.5-lakh aid to family of Ayesha Bi who died after falling into a drain

A Public Works Department (PWD) team, on Tuesday, identified five roads in the city limits that require immediate monsoon safety measures, primarily replacement of missing slabs used to cover open drains on the sides.

The inspection was held after a public furore following the death of a woman who fell into an open drain on the stretch spanning Pushpa Junction-Kozhikode Railway Station-Model School Road on Saturday night.

On Wednesday, the government announced a compensation of Rs.3.5 lakh to the family of Ayesha Bi, the victim.

Her death had sparked a debate and a blame game had ensued between the PWD and the Corporation on who exactly was responsible for the maintenance of the drains on the city roads.

Matters had taken a turn against the PWD when two government orders (GOs), issued in September 2011 and January 2012, suggested that the responsibility of maintenance lay with the department.

The Corporation also maintained that 19 of its roads were handed over to the PWD last year as part of a Rs.40.19-crore “one-time maintenance” project to upgrade the thoroughfares.

The five roads identified for immediate attention by the inspection team — Pushpa Junction-Model School Road via Kozhikode Railway Station; Annie Hall Road; Oyitty Road; Pattalappalli Junction-Town Hall Road; and Court Road — are among the 19 roads. The inspection, which started late in the afternoon, found that slabs were missing in many points on these five roads.

Alternative

“We will replace the missing ones. But there are some points like the place where the woman died where we cannot cover the drain with slabs. In such places, we will take alternative steps. Work will commence immediately,” a senior PWD official with the Roads and Bridges Division said. However, PWD sources, who were part of the inspection team, said there were at least six to seven roads, including the main thoroughfare along the Mofussil bus stand, where little can be done. “There is sewerage work going on here by the KSUDP. The possession of the road has been transferred to them. They have to hand us back the possession for us to cover the drains,” an PWD official said. The team will conduct inspection in the city’s periphery areas on Thursday to carry out maintenance work of slabs on an emergency basis.

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