On September 4, the Ernakulam Collector, S Suhas, had given an ultimatum to officials from various departments to fix the notorious pothole-riddled roads of Kochi. As directed, the officials in charge of various roads submitted during a meeting on Monday the before and after pictures of the roads to the district chief to assess the maintenance work of 45 worst-hit roads.
The Collector also gave a sterner warning to the officials at the meeting: āI will examine the development of the road repairs and if it is found that the present photos of the repaired roads are any different from the actual condition, I will charge you with a case.ā
While directing the Ernakulam Deputy Commissioner of Police to verify the images, Suhas said, āI will also personally check these roads. If you cannot do the road repair properly, I will get the work done and deduct that money from your salaries. We are drawing our salaries from the tax paid by the public. So, if we are not doing work for people, it is not right at all,ā Suhas said hitting out at the officials.
The traffic congestion in Kochi has been horrible in the last couple of months. The serpentine queues had hogged headlines on Malayalam news channels forcing the government to step in and do repair work as a knee jerk reaction. Despite this, many roads are in pathetic condition and have been ignored for years.
The Collector gave the ultimatum to officials of Public Works Department, Greater Cochin Development Corporation, National Highways division, Kochi Corporation, Kochi Metro Rail Limited, Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd., Cochin Refineries Ltd., and National Highways Authority of India, to repair the pothole-filled stretches under them within two weeks.
Suhas IAS who had become the Collector of Ernakulam in June this year had also invoked Criminal Procedure Code section 133 (conditional order for removal of nuisance) against the officials when he gave the ultimatum two weeks ago. On Monday, he said that on inspection, if it is found that the roads are still not repaired or not done properly, the section will be changed to 138 (procedure where official appears to show cause) of Code of Criminal Procedure, and case will be registered.
Meanwhile, the officials concerned cited intermittent rains as a hindrance to complete the work on time. They said that in most of the places, it was difficult to carry out the work during day time as it would further worsen the traffic. According to an official release from the district administration, the officials concerned also promised the district chief that remaining maintenance work will be completed by Tuesday and Wednesday.
Kaloor-Kathrikadavu road, Palarivattom Bypass junction road, Kakkanad-Palarivattom road, Vytilla-Kundanoor road and Maradu-Kundanoor road, are some of the stretches that were identified by the district administration as worst-hit, and ordered to be rectified.