Kerala govt seeks review of HC order calling for load test of Palarivattom bridge

Kerala govt seeks review of HC order calling for load test of Palarivattom bridge

Kochi: The Kerala government has submitted a petition in the High Court seeking review of its division bench order to conduct load test on the faulty Palarivattom bridge within three months.

The division bench had issued the order after examining the contract details between government and contract company which stated that load test should be conducted in case if complaints come up regarding construction defects.

However, the government has argued that a wrong clause has been cited as the court ordered for load test. The government contended in the petition that the division bench had accepted the arguments of the contract company without looking into threat to public safety.

The Kerala Roads and Bridges  Corporation has also filed the petition seeking review of the order.

Govt's arguments

In the petition, the state argued that the construction contract states that load test needs to be done only if the government feels that such an evaluation is required.

The government decided not to conduct load test on the basis of reports given by technical experts and professionals from IIT, Madras.

The assessment report had stated that the bridge was in danger and the cracks found were bigger than the permissible length. 

The Supreme Court had earlier said that courts should not interfere in the policy decisions taken by the government on the basis of expert opinion, the government contended in the petition.

The division bench order was issued after considering only the arguments of construction company RDS  and KITCO.

The load test is not feasible for assessing the strength of the bridge's surface, the state government plea further stated.

Further, no decision has been taken to  demolish the bridge. Only the girders and pier heads which are in a critical condition are being replaced.

Load test will need three months and maintenance work nine months. This will further aggravate traffic movement in Kochi city.

The contract company is arguing for maintenance work with Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) only to reduce its liability, the state asserted.