Killer potholes have rendered motoring next to impossible on the Thrissur-Palakkad National Highway 47.
Heavy rain has washed away roads in many areas. Large potholes put the lives of motorists at risk in the remaining stretch. Night-time motoring is a nightmare. An increasing number of accidents are reported on this route at night. Pothole-related suspension damage to vehicles is not uncommon.
There is practically no tar road visible in 28 km of the 30 km Mannuthy-Wadakkanchery stretch. The road near the Mannuthy police station resembles a large pond. Vehicles bounce along this stretch.
There is a hint of a road along the 2-km-stretch from Vaniyampara to Kuthiran. Repair of the Thrissur-Palakkad National Highway began on May 28. The plan was to re-tar the Patticaud-Chuvannamunnu-Kuthiran-Irumbupalam-Vaniyampara road and fill pot-holes along a 30 km stretch at a cost of Rs.5.19 crore. Rain had stalled the work.
The stretch between Coimbatore and Kochi of NH 47 is said to be one of the busiest in the Indian highway system. Thousands of trucks carrying consumer goods and construction material, and container lorries run along the road every day. About 8,000 lorries reportedly use the highway to reach Coimbatore every night.
Bus operators’ protest
Private bus operators have threatened to stop services on this route from August 1 terming the roads unmotorable.
The Kerala State Private Bus Operators’ Coordination Committee said the government had failed in doing its fundamental duties. “A bus operator pays Rs.30,000 as tax for three months and a share of Rs.4,200 (for three workers) for the bus workers’ welfare fund. The government, which collects this, has the responsibility to provide motorable roads to tax-payers,” said a representative of the committee
In the first phase of the agitation, the operators will stop about 250 bus services from Thrissur to Palakkad, Govindapuram, Pollachi, Pazhayannur, Mangalam dam, Kozhinjampara and Thiruvilwamala.