EDRAAC peeved at delay in developing diversion routes for Kochi metro’s Kakkanad extension

Protest is brewing against Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), the State Government and the district administration, since preparatory works to divert traffic when the Civil Line Road is barricaded as part of the metro’s Kakkanad extension have not been finalised.

Most alternative roads through which traffic can be diverted when the metro construction is on are also in a dilapidated condition. Moreover, bottlenecks to smooth movement of vehicles abound on most of the roads, due to encroachments, narrow junctions, and haphazard parking.

The Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations Apex Council (EDRAAC) expressed concern over KMRL, the district administration and the State Government not readying a package to develop alternative roads. “They should have been developed by now, on the lines of preparatory works that were carried out before piling commenced for building the metro viaduct in the Aluva-Maharaja’s College-Pettah corridor. The State Government had back then sanctioned over ₹200 crore for developing alternative roads to divert vehicles and to build or rebuild overbridges at Ernakulam North, Pachalam and near KSRTC bus stand,” said A. Ajithkumar, former general secretary and current executive committee member of EDRAAC.

Such a package must be announced at least now, after taking residents’ associations, merchant bodies and others into confidence. Their help would be crucial in clearing bottlenecks and in evicting encroachers, he said. Most roads that take off from the eastern side of NH Bypass and join the Seaport-Airport Road through Vennala must be upgraded for vehicle diversion on a priority basis. Bottlenecked junctions like the ones in front of Vennala High School and Alinchuvadu and steep curves too must be widened. A few roads could temporarily be converted as one-way corridors, he added.

Mayor M. Anilkumar said he was aware of concerns over mounting traffic hold-ups and the bad condition of many roads through which traffic could be diverted. “The busy Puthiya Road will shortly be resurfaced while Industries Minister P. Rajeeve will be apprised of the need to develop the rest of the roads and to clear bottlenecks,” he said.

While the EMC Road was recently resurfaced, contractors were shying away from taking up patch works and resurfacing of other roads, citing issues including difficulties in procuring bitumen, said K.B. Harshal, councillor representing Division 46 (Chakkaraparambu) in the Kochi Corporation. “It will be great if the Government announces a package to compensate people whose land or buildings would have to be partially acquired to widen narrow parts of roads. Most traders at Vennala Junction are willing to surrender land if they are compensated for,” he added.

Waterlogging is yet another persistent issue due to unscientific pipe drains laid across the NH Bypass. Councillors representing three adjacent divisions on the eastern side of the NH Bypass would act in tandem to find solutions to those issues, said Mr. Harshal.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 11:23:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/edraac-peeved-at-delay-in-developing-diversion-routes-for-kochi-metros-kakkanad-extension/article37165546.ece

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