Kochi: A day after Kochi witnessed one of the huge traffic snarls in the recent past, Kerala Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran on Saturday said that such gridlocks are not new to the city and his department cannot be blamed for it.
Speaking to media after visiting the Kundannoor area where traffic had come to a standstill on Friday for hours, the minister said the works on the two flyovers – at Kundannoor and Vyttila – cannot be blamed for the traffic snarls in the city.
“Was traffic smooth in Kochi before the works on these flyovers started? There were huge traffic blocks during the works on the Kochi Metro,” an agitated Sudhakaran told media.
“Two flyovers are being built in the city. Hence it's natural to cause some traffic issues. Are you saying that the flyovers are not needed? It's a need of the people,” he said.
He said the contractors have promised to finish the flyover works by next March. He also praised the PWD engineers for the speedy works on the flyovers.
Holding the Traffic Safety Authority responsible for the traffic woes in the city, the minister said the authority should reform the traffic system there.
Asked about the district collector's report that 45 roads in the district are damaged, the minister sought to clarify that only some portions of the roads are damaged.
“The roads are by and large in good conditions. There are issues only in some portions,” he said. Stating that there was no shortage of funds for road repair and maintenance, the minister said he will be allocating Rs 7 crore for the repair works of roads in Kochi.
“Some people are deliberately trying to create issues. Media shouldn't support it,” the minister said.
The minister's visit comes amid an uproar among the citizens of Kochi against the bad conditions of the roads in Kochi. There has been a flood of complaints on social media.
Asked about the Collector warning of strict action if no measures were taken by the departments concerned to better the condition of the roads within two weeks, the minister said only the officer can comment on it.
On the Kerala High Court taking a suo moto case over the pathetic roads in Kochi, the minister said it was a good action on the part of the court.