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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Andhakarathodu renovation project hits a dead end – Mrit News

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‘Contractor’s failure to deploy men and machinery led to delay in completion of work’

‘Contractor’s failure to deploy men and machinery led to delay in completion of work’

The fate of a ₹10-crore project to rejuvenate the historic 2.15-km-long Andhakarathodu in Thripunithura and to build walkways on either side is in doldrums, even as the deadline to commission it expired in 2020.

The waterbody, which connects Konothupuzha and Chambakkara canal, was built during the reign of kings in Kochi, mainly to transport cargo. It fell into disuse and became a garbage dumping ground during the past few decades.

Official sources said 15% of the work was pending, what with 25% of fencing on the banks of the waterbody, a 1.50-km walkway, electrification, and landscaping not yet readied, even as the revised deadline of the project expired on March 31. The KIIFB-funded project, whose work began in November 2018, was handed over to the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation (KIIDC) for execution.

The work could have been completed much earlier had the contractor deployed adequate men, machinery, and raw materials. Even the dry months of early 2022 were wasted. KIIDC ought to take a decision on penalising the contractor. At this pace, it will take at least up to October to commission the rejuvenated waterbody, they added.

The inordinate delay has in turn resulted in the waterbody getting infested with water hyacinth and weeds, even as people have begun to dump garbage through the yet-to-be-fenced areas. The point where Andhakarathodu meets Chambakkara canal, located less than a kilometre from the Thripunithura bus stand, has potential to host a Water metro terminal.

Konothupuzha rejuvenation

A bigger project to rejuvenate the 17-km Konothupuzha is expected to follow suit. The rebuilding of low-lying bridges, steps to smoothen water flow, and regulators on either end have been envisaged, it is learnt.

Expressing shock at the plight of Andhakarathodu, Dasan P.N., who had been councillor of Thripunithura Municipality, said water from there used to be taken to cook mid-day meals at the nearby Zenana Mission School, where he studied, as early as the 1950’s. “The same waterbody has now become a dumping ground,” he added.

He was further saddened at a young motorbike rider losing his life on Saturday and his pillion rider suffering serious injuries after they fell into the waterbody from an unmarked PWD bridge construction site, following which the police arrested its contractor and two PWD engineers.

Meanwhile, Thripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents Association (TRURA) has demanded blacklisting of the contractor for not ensuring safety at the work site and for the inordinate delay in completing the construction of the bridge.

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