In a video that has surfaced from Kochi, a small group of people can be seen having a picnic on a flyover. Yes, you read that right!
Some are seen sitting on a mat and strumming guitars, some dancing to the music, some clicking pictures and a child is even flying a kite. It seems like these people are sitting far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, they are perched on a flyover located in one of the busiest and traffic-heavy areas in the city — the Palarivattom flyover.
The Palarivattom flyover, constructed at a cost of Rs 48 crore, was shut down six months ago after it was declared unfit for use. This was following the appearance of severe cracks on it, that too months after it was opened for traffic in 2016.
The people seen in the video are residents of the city who have come together under the aegis of the Anti-Corruption People’s Movement. They turned up at the defunct Palarivattom flyover on Friday and made it their leisure spot to highlight the corruption of the officials associated with the project.
While the defunct structure is now waiting to be demolished and reconstructed, the controversy involving the corruption charges against the officials responsible for the state of affairs, has not subsided yet.
As a sign of protest, the residents also put a poster that roughly translates to ‘The mannappams (pancakes made out of sand) we made during our childhood were much stronger than the flyover’. The paper poster was pinned on the ground with pancakes made of gravel.
The photos and videos were shared on Facebook by Lakshmi Menon, the woman behind the popular Chekkutty dolls from Kerala. The dolls were made on the handlooms from Chendamangalam, which were damaged during the 2018 floods in Kerala. The dolls went on to become the symbol of the state’s revival following the disaster.
Speaking to TNM, Lakshmi, who was part of the team that turned Palarivattom flyover into a fun zone on Friday, says that the event was an attempt to make people realise how tonnes of natural resources are being wasted.
“Of course it is a dig at the officials who rendered a flyover useless within just two years of its construction. But more than that, it is to make people realise how tonnes of natural resources, which are extracted by destroying our hills and other resources, are wasted by turning the flyover into this non-functional state. That is why we decided to use the structure in some useful ways,” Lakshmi told TNM.
By terming the flyover ‘a monumental waste’, Lakshmi wrote on Facebook that as per ‘akriology’ (akri means junk), there is nothing called waste and that people should put it to best use to justify the resources that have gone into building something.
“We are not concerned about the political controversies over the Palarivattom flyover. What we are implying is that, till the flyover gets demolished, people should make use of it in one way or the other,” wrote Lakshmi.
Four officials, including former Public Works Department (PWD ) TO Soorej, were arrested in connection with the flyover scam. Four of them recently got bail from the Kerala High Court. The state government has said that the flyover will be reconstructed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).