KOCHI: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) might be pulling out all stops to complete the prestigious project on time. But the Kochi corporation, district administration and related agencies are pulling the other way and have failed to complete the preparatory work to enable the work on Metro’s 24-km viaduct which has begun on three of the four reaches.
This has not only slowed down work, it has added to the woes of ordinary citizens and increased chaos on city roads. Though the widening of MG Road was announced as part of preparatory work, the public works department (PWD) has failed to do the job, frustrating DMRC which has speeded up construction on the stretch between Edappally to MG Road. It has also started test piling on Sahodharan Ayyappan Road.
At a meeting convened by the district collector, the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC) had put forward the demand to complete the widening of Thammanam-Pullepady road prior to the commencement of work on MG Road. This would have helped the city police to reroute traffic through side roads and regulate traffic better. The association also wanted authorities to widen the road linking Rajaji Road to KSRTC bus depot and A L Jacob railway overbridge (ROB).
The Roads and Bridges Corporation, Kerala (RBDC-K), was also asked to complete the Ponnurunni ROB, which would enable traffic on the Palarivatttom-Vyttila stretch and reduce the movement of traffic through the busy Palarivattom-Kaloor stretch.
In spite of assurances on relaying footpaths and reconstructing drains, neither the Kochi corporation or PWD have taken up the job. When contacted, PWD stated that it would soon start work to widen the MG Road. Executive engineer P P Benny said the district collector would hold a meeting of various departments to finalise the plan. Regarding the reconstruction of drains along the Metro stretch, he said that DMRC has agreed to do a sample work. “If that’s feasible, PWD will opt for DMRC’s plan,” he added.
Even though DMRC had tried to identify utility lines such as electric, telephone cables, water and oil pipelines before starting the piling work, concerned agencies failed to provide related maps and sketches.
“Sometimes, we were not able to locate them before the work. This is mainly because agencies such as the Kerala water authority has been unable to provide drawings and sketches of water pipeline networks in the city,” said a Metro official. He also asked the water authority to shift pipelines on SA Road to facilitate construction work.
On Saturday, mayor Tony Chammany has decided to convene a meeting of political parties, traders, merchants and officials of various government departments to discuss issues faced by citizens.