KOCHI: Repair and resurfacing of many roads in the district are at a standstill because of the KSEB’s delay in laying underground cables and the model code of conduct for elections taking effect.
The worst affected are roads in Kochi city and coastal roads, repair works on which have either not begun or have been abandoned half way. Pre-monsoon works to reinforce vulnerable stretches and to clean drains too are likely to be affected. Motorists would have a hard time going through city roads during the oncoming rainy season.There is increasing demand that road-repair works be exempted from the election code of conduct.
Officials of the PWD said that they are unable to sign agreements with contractors, even for road-repair projects that were tendered and received Government sanction. It is another matter that the PWD, the Corporation and other Government agencies did not speed up road-repair works during the three-month period from December to February, when there was no rain. The result – most arterial roads and side roads are in bad condition. “Many temporarily-restored roads may not even withstand the summer rain,” said a PWD engineer.
The laying of underground power cables by the KSEB has made matters worse. The agency has dug up most arterial roads in the city, especially the Banerjee Road and Park Avenue Road. Mud and gravel are heaped on the road side, affecting traffic flow. Pedestrians are forced to walk through the tarred portion, endangering their life. More roads would soon be dug up.
Many trenches on the side and cuttings across the road have not even been temporarily restored, contrary to the promise that the KSEB made to the PWD and the Corporation. The 200-km cable-laying work by IRCON under the city automation scheme, has overrun many deadlines for its completion.