KOCHI: The efforts of a corporation contractor and his workers to get off with just a ‘facelift’ to the Pachalam stretch of the Chittoor Road was thwarted by alert locals, who said that inferior materials were being used for the work. Though the first phase of tarring on the Chittoor Road is yet to be completed, the workers allegedly moved ahead on the stretch and tried to do ‘patchwork’ on Tuesday.
But when locals and autorickshaw drivers found that the ‘patchwork’ meant pouring tar over dust and wet metal, they stopped the workers. According to contractor T J Mathai, the patchwork was being done to ease the tarring process.
But, Manikandarajan P S, councillor of Thattazham, said the contractor was asked not to proceed with the work but did not agree.
“The road has not been tarred for more than two years. So we expected a proper work from the officials concerned,” said Anthony Puthur, a retired teacher. “The condition of the pocket roads is worse and the entire area has become a nightmare for commuters,” he added.
Even the road leading to Lourde Hospital, which is one of the major hospitals in the city, is in a bad condition. “The road to the hospital in itself is a threat to the lives of the patients who come there. If we do not drive cautiously, the patient might even fall off the vehicle. The situation is worse when it rains, as the waterlogging makes it difficult to judge the depth of potholes,” noted Jineesh, an autorickshaw driver.
Autorickshaws and goods vehicle drivers who frequent the area say that they incur heavy maintenance costs owing to the bad condition of the roads. “In the past two months alone I had to spend around `6,000 on maintenance work of my vehicle because of the potholes”, said Prakashan, another auto driver.
According to the authorities, work on the roads can progress smoothly only after completing the culvert near the Pachalam level crossing. As a sign of protest, the residents planted 20 coconut saplings in the potholes on Wednesday.
They also announced that they will halt traffic in the entire Pachalam area on Saturday if the authorities fail to take necessary action.