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Handrails to be set up at junctions again

S. Anil Radhakrishnan
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Road safety forum to intervene after barricades were dismantled at Kuravankonam, Statue

The Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA) will ensure that safety barricades are installed in busy junctions of the 42-km road stretch developed under the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP).

The KRSA decided to step in in the wake of recent incidents when workers of the Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL), the concessionaire of the CRIP, were prevented from installing handrails in front of the Secretariat and at Kuravankonam Junction.

In both cases, the handrails were damaged when the welding works were on. In front of the Secretariat, those running a hotel were allegedly behind the dismantling of the barricade, citing that the rail was blocking its entrance. The CRIP and the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) had lodged complaints with the Cantonment police station against the act.

At Kuravankonam Junction, Mayor K. Chandrika, who is also the local councillor (representing Muttada ward in the Corporation Council), ordered the dismantling of the handrails erected on the footpath, since they were blocking the entrance to a hotel.

She said that owners of several shops at the junction had complained to her about the inconvenience caused by the rails.

Officials say that abandoning of the work at Kuravankonam had spurred similar demands from shopkeepers at other junctions.

Other junctions

TRDCL has already installed handrails of 90-cm to 1.2-metre height at the Kowdiar, Sasthamangalam, Vellayambalam, LMS, Museum, VJT Hall, Palayam, and Pallimukku junctions. Under the guidelines of the Indian Roads Congress, handrails are to be provided on all the roads leading away from a junction for a safe distance.

In front of the Secretariat, the TRDCL had set up barricades 75 cm in height. The height was reduced to facilitate hassle-free movement of road users since the main gate often witnessed agitations by political parties and other organisations, a TRDCL official said.

Unauthorised parking of vehicles and assembly of people on the road continue in Kuravankonam Junction after the work on the barricades was abandoned. Road safety experts say the stretch is prone to accidents.

“Preventing pedestrians from straying into the path of vehicles is a basic safety requirement and this has to be enforced at Kuravankonam Junction as a traffic signal is going to be installed there soon,” the official said.

Committee's decision

A high-power technical committee of the KRFB had looked into the traders' complaints and had insisted that handrails be put up.

Official sources said the KRSA had enough powers to ensure that the barricades were installed to prevent pedestrians from straying onto the road.

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