Kerala

Kerala CM inaugurates Vyttila, Kundannur flyovers

Development of basic infrastructure such as roads and bridges is the basis for ushering in development and the public works department has risen to the occassion with the slogan ‘Constructions in keeping with the Times’, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, after the online commissioning of the much-awaited flyovers at Vyttila and Kundannur on the Edapally-Aroor NH Bypass here on Saturday.

The Government is committed to completing projects and not just making annoucements, he added. Without mentioning names (of V4Kochi and others), Mr Vijayan slammed those who attempted to informally open Vyttila flyover to motorists a week ago.

Controversies

None of those who blamed the Government for a few days’ time lag in commissioning the flyovers expressed outrage when there was no flyover at the two congested junctions and when the Palarivattom flyover developed cracks shortly after commissioning. They got restive when the construction of the flyovers got over, possibly fearing that this would further people’s trust in the Government. A small group of people, including those who served in the judiciary are behind this, he said.

Yet another attempt was made by a few people to stroke controversy by claiming that tall lorries using the flyover would ram into the Kochi Metro viaduct located 5.50 m above Vyttila flyover. This was disproved, since the maximum permissible height of vehicles in India is 4.75 m. The height of central girders of Kundannur flyover was increased from 5.50 m that had been planned to 6.50 m at the request of BPCL, so that multi-axle lorries could smoothly cross the junction. This resulted in the structure being extended by another 30 m, Mr Vijayan said.

Lauding the PWD for completing the two six-lane flyovers despite adversities like the devastating flood of 2018 and the pandemic situation, Mr Vijayan said both the structures were completed at less than the amount estimated by PWD, using State Government funds (routed through KIIFB). Motorists would have had to pay (more) toll if the NHAI (which already collects substantial toll from NH Bypass users) had built them. The KIIFB has set apart ₹20,000 crore to develop road and bridge infra alone. This is apart from the budgetary allocation for such projects, he said.

Emphasis on quality

The Minister for Public Works G Sudhakaran said that bridges were built with much care decades ago, with the result that a dozen of century old bridges in Kerala and another about 400 structures half a century old are intact now. With Palarivattom flyover having to be rebuilt after it developed cracks and with Enathu bridge needing rectification, it was decided to emphasise more on safety. Thus, Vyttila and Kundannur flyovers were commissioned only after conducting load test - which proved that they conform to quality standards, followed by a joint inspection by a team of three PWD chief engineers, who issued completion certificate on Jan 5. Technology and people’s expectations on public infra are increasing. This is why care has been taken to prevent noise and air pollution when the Palarivattom flyover is being rebuilt, for commissioning in May.

He alleged that a ‘mafia’ is at play in Ernakulam district, posing questions like why it is necessary that the Chief Minister inaugurate flyovers. Will they ask similar questions on the impending inauguration of Alappuzha Bypass by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Criticism must be constructive. “Vela Velayudhanodu Venda,” he said, referring to protests organised by V4Kochi and others condemning delay in opening the flyovers.

Edapally junction

Mr Sudhakaran said the Government will intervene to lessen congestion at Edapally junction, which already has an (underutilised) flyover. The fear is rife that additional influx of vehicles through the new flyovers will worsen chaos at Edapally.

Minister for Finance T M Thomas Issac drew parallels between how NHAI and KIIFB mobilise funds, with some exceptions. The major difference is that NHAI would levy toll. “Kerala’s infra projects are going ahead despite the global crisis due to the rejuvenation package announced by the Government. KIIFB helped mobilise funds from outside the budget.”

The others who were present include Mayor M Anil Kumar, District Collector S Suhas, MD of RBDCK (which built Kundannur flyover) Jafar Malik, Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden and MLA’s from the district.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 12:59:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-cm-inaugurates-vyttila-kundannur-flyovers/article33536259.ece

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