Kochi

Danger lurks on Kochi city roads as deadline for repair nears

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Motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, stand the risk of being thrown off their vehicles along Banerjee Road; many arterial and side roads are dotted with potholes

Many arterial roads and busy side roads in Kochi continue to be dotted with potholes, despite the December 31 deadline set by the Government for repairing them nearing. They include the S.A. Road and Thammanam-Pullepady road maintained by the Kochi Corporation and parts of NHAI-maintained NH bypass where motorists are caught unawares by potholes.

Motorists along the PWD (Roads Wing)-owned Banerjee Road beneath the metro corridor have to endure danger lurking in the form of the severely undulated fast track, where the area near Kochi metro pillars is at a higher level than the rest of the road. Motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, stand the risk of being thrown off their vehicles. The PWD has not repaired the Vyttila-Palarivattom road either.

Collector’s inspection

In the meantime, it is learnt that District Collector S. Suhas would resume direct inspection of roads to verify if the agencies concerned have restored damaged roads. He had pulled up officials of different agencies over two months ago and threatened to deduct expenses for road repair works from their salary in case roads continued to be in bad condition.

Road safety expert Upendra Narayanan spoke of how the lackadaisical attitude of the police and people’s representatives too was to blame for the plight of Kochi roads. “Arterial roads in Kochi are spread over a small geographical area and it is easy for the police to monitor and report potential threats to safety of road users. The city needs committed police officers at helm, who are capable of informed decision making. For this, they need basic training in traffic issues. Only then will they be able to pull up officials and others who are hesitant to repair potholes and other issues,” he said.

Order violated

In the mean time, officials of the police, and the PWD (Roads wing) gravely erred in adhering to the Kerala Highway Protection Act and a Government Order (G.O.) on the need to maintain roads in safe condition at any cost, informed sources in the PWD said.

Referring to a Government Order (G.O.) issued in 2016, they said the recent death of a two-wheeler rider in a pothole-related accident at Palarivattom could have been averted if the police and the PWD executive engineer (E.E.) concerned had acted promptly, as soon as the pothole developed four months ago. As per the order, the E.E. must complain in writing to the nearest police station and send a copy of it to the District Collector and the District Police Chief in case there is any threat to the safety of road users. The police is duty-bound to initiate action within seven days. The expense for the action taken (in this case repair of the damaged road) must be claimed from the agency or persons who caused the safety hazard.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 12:46:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/danger-lurks-on-city-roads-as-deadline-for-repair-nears/article30308273.ece

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