Kochi Municipal Corp raises fears of ‘Shock Treatment’

कोच्चि Kochi: Along with the delay in shifting electric cables along the path of Kochi Metro, the Kochi corporation has raised safety concerns over the method used by Metro’s contractors to wrap steel structures with rubber sheets to prevent them coming into contact with power cables.

According to corporation officials, since the Metro work has gathered speed in the city, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has to ensure that cables are shifted safely, specifically referring to the work being carried out on MG Road. “It will not be wise to follow a practice of wrapping steel structures using rubber sheets. This is a temporary measure and cannot be considered safe. All agencies associated with the work must make sure that people’s life is not put to risk,” said town planning committee chairman K J Sohan.

However, Kochi Metro officials said that they were forced to opt for such measures because of the delay in shifting utility lines. “If we waited for agencies such as KSEB and Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to shift utility lines to continue with the Metro work, it will be almost impossible to complete the project in the agreed time frame,” an official said.

KSEB officials claimed that they were carrying out the process of shifting electric cables to facilitate work on MG Road. “We are trying to complete these works at the earliest,” said a KSEB engineer.

Meanwhile, Kochi mayor Tony Chammany has asked councillors to permit digging of city roads for KSEB to complete the process of laying underground cables. Speaking to councillors on the need for having underground cables, he said, “The KSEB has to complete the Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme (RAPD&RP) and take the cables underground. For this, they will have to dig the roads.”

He also assured councillors that the dug-up roads would be relaid using funds collected by the local body from KSEB.

Metro Model to be Followed at Tech Park

The Kochi Metro Rail model of land acquisition will be followed for setting up the electronics park at Amballoor in the district.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting convened by Excise Minister K Babu and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob at the Collectorate Conference Hall here on Thursday.

“We are planning to acquire land using the ‘direct purchase method’. The decision on the proposal to acquire around 1 acre of land will be finalised soon. Eco-sensitive areas will be given priority while acquiring land for the project. Canals, wetlands and agriculture lands will be exempted,” said the ministers.

“The farmers have already agreed to surrender land for the project, which got a fillip from the involvement ministers like P K Kunhalikutty, P K Mohanan, K Babu, V K Ibrahim Kunju and Oommen Chandy,” said Anoop Jacob. District Collector M G Rajamanickam and representatives of the KSIDC also attended the meeting.