A bumpy ride awaits motorists this monsoon

OBSTACLE COURSE: The Kaloor Kadavanthra road is in a bad shape.

OBSTACLE COURSE: The Kaloor Kadavanthra road is in a bad shape.   | Photo Credit: Photo: H. Vibhu

Staff Reporter

Delay in revising rates for works affects repair of main roads

KOCHI: The Corporation of Cochin, Public Works Department, National Highways Authority of India, Greater Cochin Development Authority and local bodies are yet to begin pre-monsoon maintenance work on damaged roads, despite the monsoon season being hardly three weeks away. This means, it will be hell let loose on Kochi’s congested roads, once schools and colleges reopen in June.

The delay in revising rates for road works, in proportion to the hike in wages of workers and the price of materials, and other bureaucratic hurdles have been attributed as the main reasons for the saddening situation.

A senior PWD official said contractors are continuing with their boycott of tenders, despite the grave situation. “The proposal submitted to the State Finance Department to revise the rates of contractors is hanging fire. Under present rates, each labourer is given just Rs 140, whereas it is impossible to get workers for less than Rs 300 a person. Those engaged in tarring work command anything between Rs 400 and Rs 500 every day. Only major contractors can invest in machinery that will lessen the dependence on workers, considering the huge capital investment needed.”

The striking contractors have also cited the delay in clearing long-pending dues and the non-payment of money for road repair works done for VVIP visits. The delay in publishing revised rates often results in contractors compromising on the quality of work.

With most side roads, the Chitoor Road and S A Road in bad shape, the Corporation has been blaming the rains for the delay in carrying out resurfacing work. Mayor Mercy Williams said that many contractors carry out piecemeal works, with the result that roads do not last long. “The representatives of each division must work in cooperation with those from neighbouring divisions, so that entire stretches can be maintained well. We are awaiting ADB funds for bettering the SA Road, Chitoor Road and its side roads.”

Repairs over the Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road, damaged when the KWA laid water pipelines, has just begun. The GCDA admits that tarring will not be possible before the rains.

Surfacing work will soon be over from Katrikadavu to Kadavanthra and patch works will be done in the rest of the stretch. Resurfacing the road will be done only after the rainy season. A GCDA official blamed the KWA for not yet handing over funds (50 per cent of the cost) to carry out resurfacing work.

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