Kochi

‘Agencies shying away from preventive upkeep of roads’

Need of the hour: Mobile patchwork units play a key role in preventing potholes from turning bigger. A scene from the pothole-ridden Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road maintained by the Greater Cochin Development Authority.

Need of the hour: Mobile patchwork units play a key role in preventing potholes from turning bigger. A scene from the pothole-ridden Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road maintained by the Greater Cochin Development Authority.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

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Patchwork unit retrofitted on mini lorry costs less, says official

The Kochi Corporation and the PWD, which maintain most roads in the city, West Kochi, and suburban towns are shying away from procuring mobile patch work units that can attend to and repair potholes as soon as they are reported, say officials.

“The political and administrative executive in the Kochi Corporation are not at all interested in adapting to technological advancements, be it in road repair work, cleaning of drains, or scientific disposal of garbage,” lamented an engineer of the corporation.

He said such machines could be retrofitted in mini lorries or even smaller goods carriers. “Such equipment is used in most metro cities. They cost only around ₹25 lakh per unit. Sadly, the corporation’s engineering wing is extremely weak, especially when it comes to maintaining mechanical

The fleet of garbage trucks which are rusting for want of upkeep is an apt example. We are thus forced to rely on private trucks, costing a fortune.

Trained and motivated officials must be posted to ensure the upkeep of trucks and even equipment that the agency could easily purchase for doing patch work,” he added.

Another official said Kochi was the sole municipal corporation in Kerala where assistant executive engineers had not been delegated powers to entrust work costing up to ₹50 lakh.

“This delegation of powers following a government order two years ago has resulted in better management of road and other infrastructure in other municipal bodies.”

A. Ajithkumar of Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations Apex Council (EDRAAC) said the PWD had managed to at least temporarily restore roads which had been dug up by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) despite the rainy weather. “Even the National Highways Authority of India [NHAI] has been constantly repairing potholes on NH stretches, despite heavy traffic flow. But corporation-owned roads located next to them are in pathetic shape, causing accidents and traffic snarls. The dust emanating from them is causing misery to residents and road users,” he added.

EDRAAC had suggested over five years ago that the agency procure a mobile patch work unit to prevent potholes from becoming craters. However, the suggestion fell on deaf ears, Mr. Ajithkumar said.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 10:56:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/agencies-shying-away-from-preventive-upkeep-of-roads/article29995392.ece

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