Islanders fume at delay in readying approach road to bridge

The Pizhala-Moolampilly bridge. A wide approach road is expected to establish the much-needed connectivity from the Pizhala side to the bridge.   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

Even as the Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA) recently accorded administration sanction to build three bridges in the Goshree region, islanders are peeved at the inordinate delay and alleged red tape in readying a 350-metre road to establish the much-needed connectivity from the Pizhala side to the 714-metre-long Pizhala-Moolampilly bridge that takes off from Container Road.

The project to widen the narrow panchayat road is hanging fire as it has not got technical sanction. This is because the Revenue Department has not surveyed the land and issued a land acquisition notification to widen the narrow approach road, which is wide enough only for two-wheeler traffic. “One can imagine the situation when a two-lane bridge terminates in a dilapidated narrow lane which was built for 54 families,” said Francis Dianish, vice chairman of Pizhala Karamuttikal Samara Samiti, an NGO that was formed to catalyse the establishment of proper road connectivity.

Proper road connectivity for the bridge is crucial for all 14 islands in Kadamakudy, since Pizhala, which is located at the centre of Kadamakudy isles, has a public health centre, a veterinary clinic, and also panchayat and village offices, which they ought to frequent. Especially so since ferries that were in operation halted service once the bridge was commissioned in 2013.

Apart from red tape, the Kadamakudy grama panchayat ought to take a proactive stand on the issue. Its members are on different pages on the issue of relocating four electric posts which hamper movement of vehicles even now on the narrow approach road.

“A few of them are citing lame excuses like people may get electric shock if they are relocated to the adjacent wetland,” Mr. Dianish said.

Even worse, a meeting of landowners that was held a couple of days ago failed to reach a consensus, since officials are yet to ready a land acquisition package. Not taking landowners into confidence has made even advance possession of land a tough proposition, although they are willing to surrender their land. On its part, GIDA has said it will appoint a liaison officer to speed up the process.

The Revenue and other agencies concerned must get their act together. Initiating works will not be affected by the model code of conduct, since the High Court had recently ordered speedy completion of long-pending projects, sources said.

Proper road connectivity is crucial to building boat jetties that are being readied on Paliamturuth island and Pizhala as part of the Water Metro project, since barges often encounter difficulty in negotiating through shallow areas. This necessitates the need to transport construction materials through road, it is learnt.

The ₹37.5-crore Kothad-Chennur bridge, ₹19.50-crore Chennur-Pizhala bridge, and the ₹20.50-crore Chennur-Charianthuruth bridge had recently got administrative sanction.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 4:54:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/islanders-fume-at-delay-in-readying-approach-road-to-bridge/article33957699.ece

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