People should return home safely, not in coffin: Kerala HC on poor condition of roads

Representational image.

Kochi: Lambasting the pathetic condition of the roads, the Kerala High Court has stated it wants to ensure that those stepping out of their homes return safely.

"Those stepping out should return home safely and alive, and not in a coffin. Don’t know how long we will have to wait to get a guarantee that people will be able to return safely after travelling by road," Justice Devan Ramachandran said while considering a case on the deplorable condition of the roads.

“To understand the reality, visit the house of a person who has died due to the potholes on the road. Accidents are destroying an entire generation. Nowhere else do accidents occur due to potholes that are not repaired despite the engineer being aware of these,” the court said and directed to complete the repair works of roads at the earliest.

"If the road is damaged, the primary responsibility will be on the engineers. Will not shy away from taking action against them" the court stated.

The government counsel, appearing on behalf of the Public Works Department (PWD), submitted in court that the financial situation of the state should also be taken into account. To which the court said that a citizen’s life is more valuable than the entire State treasury.

The High Court had summoned the PWD engineer in charge of the Aluva-Perumbavoor over the death of  one Kunjumuhammed due to the injuries sustained after his bike fell into a pothole. Subsequently, PWD,  Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) superintendent, engineer and assistant executive engineer appeared in court on Monday.

The PWD engineers submitted in court that they had informed the higher authorities about the poor condition of the roads. But they were asked not to take any action as there was a directive to hand over the control of the roads to the KRFB.

But the KRFB engineers said that they got the charge on June 27 and the works were started at 'record speed' on July 14. However, the court pointed out that this indeed was the problem.

"The road had been damaged weeks ago. But the work was started only after a few weeks. This is being termed as ‘record speed’. The court passed an order over this matter in October 2018. But even after four years, the situation has not changed," the court stated.

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