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The Ernakulam Collector, S Suhas, on September 4, had given an ultimatum to various departments’ officials to fix Kochi’s notorious pothole-riddled roads. As directed, the officials submitted before-and-after pictures of the roads during a meeting, to the district chief to assess the maintenance work of 45 roads that were hit the worst.
“I 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,” The News Minute quoted the Collector as saying at the meeting.
“I 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,” he added.
In the last couple of months, the traffic condition has been terrible. As a knee-jerk reaction to several headlines on Malayalam news channel, the government was forced to step in and do repairs. However, many roads still remained unattended and in a pathetic condition.
The ultimatum was given 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 roads within two weeks.
Suhas IAS became the Collector of Ernakulam in June this year. When he gave the ultimatum two weeks ago, he had invoked Criminal Procedure Code section 133 (conditional order for removal of a nuisance) against the officials. On September 23, he said that if the roads are still not repaired properly, the section will be changed to 138 (a procedure where official appears to show cause) of Code of Criminal Procedure, and a case will be registered.
The officials, however, said that intermittent rains hindered the completion of work on time. In most of the places, they claimed, it was difficult to carry out the work in the day time as that would only worsen the traffic condition.
Some of the stretches that were identified by the district administration as worst-hit, and ordered to be rectified, are Kaloor-Kathrikadavu road, Palarivattom Bypass junction road, Kakkanad-Palarivattom road, Vytilla-Kundanoor road and Maradu-Kundanoor road.
The concerned officials had promised the district chief that they would complete the remaining maintenance work by Wednesday, September 25.
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