Kerala

Actor flip-flops on road comment

Minister for public Works P.A.Mohamed riyas and actor Jayasurya inaugurate in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday a scheme for installation of boards showing the defect liability period of roads.  

Actor Jayasurya appeared to have flip-flopped on his arguably sarcastic comment that Cherrapunji in Meghalaya would have no road to speak off if rain impeded maintenance.

His perceived ‘caustic’ remark at a State government function hosted by Public Works Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas seemed to give short shrift to the administration’s recurrent claim that incessant showers had impeded the timely maintenance of roads in Kerala.

Faux pas

The ‘faux pas’ appeared particularly piercing because Mr. Jayasurya had attended the function as Mr. Riyas’s guest.

The actor seemed to compare the condition of roads in perennially rain-soaked Cherrapunji with that in seasonally monsoon ravaged Kerala.

The Minister had hosted the actor for breakfast before launching a high-profile Public Works Department (PWD) scheme to usher in transparency and accountability into road maintenance.

It entailed displaying the telephone numbers of the government engineer and contractor responsible for the upkeep of individual road sections to make them accountable publicly.

Of late, the government had faced strident public criticism for the poor condition of arterial roads.

The public outrage at torn up and potholed thoroughfares left unattended for months at a stretch had dominated news coverage for weeks.

The administration had reportedly hoped to pull off a public relations coup by announcing the scheme in the presence of Mr. Jayasurya, whose campaign for safe roads had garnered popularity over the years in some measure. Nevertheless, the government’s purported ‘propaganda pitch’ to salvage the PWD’s ‘tattered’ image appeared to backfire.

Mr. Jayasurya said citizens who struggled and paid vehicle tax wanted proper roads and not the excuse that rain hobbled maintenance.

“Who would answer for the deaths on ill-maintained roads?” he asked.

Mr. Riyas and Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator V.K. Prasanth were on the dais.

The ‘whiplash’ statement sparked off television news scrolls that seemed to target Mr. Riyas.

Soon, Mr. Jayasurya surfaced on social media praising the Minister.

The actor claimed Mr. Riyas had his ear to the ground and listened to commoners.

Permission

Mr. Jayasurya said he had sought the Minister’s permission during breakfast to speak his mind at the public function, indicating that the controversial comment was not an off-the-cuff remark.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 7:24:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/actor-flip-flops-on-road-comment/article37847082.ece

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