Staff Reporter

Even two years after the inauguration of Goshree bridges

KOCHI: Even two years after the formal inauguration of the Goshree bridges, the demand of the residents of the Vypeen islands to have direct bus service to the city remains unfulfilled.

The Goshree bridges were inaugurated in 2004 by the then Chief Minister A.K. Antony. On October 16, Oommen Chandy inaugurated the bus service along the bridges. But the buses were not allowed to enter the city.

The reason cited was that the Railway Canal Bridge in front of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute was not strong enough to carry heavy vehicles.

The Goshree Islands Action Council then pointed out that heavy trailer lorries carrying containers were already using the bridge. After the action council registered its protest with the Chief Minister, he announced that the bridge would be strengthened. Within two weeks, the strengthening work was completed.

Entry restricted

But, even then, buses were allowed to run only till the High Court Junction, the reason being that the city traffic would suffer with the entry of more buses.

Action Council chairman Majnu Komath pointed out that the people of Vypeen were forced to pay additional bus charge for every trip to the city. "For example, the passengers from Vypeen will have to pay only an additional charge of 50 paise to reach Kaloor if the buses they come from Vypeen are allowed into the city. But, at present, they have to pay Rs. 3.50 instead."

The action council had suggested at a meeting on November 5 last year, convened under the direction of the Chief Minister, that buses should be allowed to run in four directions from the High Court Junction. It was agreed that action would be taken in one month, but nothing happened, alleged Mr. Komath.

A follow-up meeting on January 4, 2006, organised by the Regional Transport Officer at Kakkanad had directed to find the schedule of the 105 buses arriving from Vypeen to the High Court Junction everyday.

The aim was to determine the number of buses which would remain at the junction for a longer period before the next trip.

After determining that 35 buses had more than one to one-and-a-half hours of waiting time, an understanding was arrived at to permit route for 35 buses to the eastern and southern side of the city.

Those buses having half-an-hour of waiting time were allowed to run till Boat Jetty or Kaloor. The understanding was that the buses could start plying from January 26, subject to the RTA approval.

However, approval was not granted at the next RTA meeting, citing the objection of the traffic police. An all-party meeting at Vypeen on January 29 protested against the stand adopted by the district administration and the RTA.

The Goshree Bus Service Samara Samithi formed at the meeting with Mr. Kuttappan as chairman and Mr. Komath as convener had been reiterating the demand. S. Sarma, who inaugurated the meeting on January 29, had promised the support of the CPI(M). Mr. Komath called upon the Government to take immediate action on the issue.