KOCHI: A day after the High Court suggested the government to consider different alignment for the Vyttila Flyover, PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran has ruled out major changes in the current design. This comes close on the heels of CPM district secretary P. Rajeev joining others asking the government to take time-bound steps to address concerns about the construction of the flyover in the current pattern. Mr Sudhakaran also said that the current alignment and plan of Vyttila flyover was approved by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and it principal advisor E. Sreedharan.
In a letter to Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad development cell convener G. Gopinathan, Mr Sreedharan had said that about two years back DMRC had submitted a comprehensive concept plan for the junction totally segregating the NH traffic and the SA Road traffic at two levels and this scheme was submitted to the then PWD Secretary T.O. Sooraj, but no follow-up action was taken. He said that he had told the PWD Minister in November last that this flyover won't solve the traffic problems at the junction.
The minister, in a statement issued on Saturday, said that DMRC, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd and NHAI had approved the Vyttila flyover plan and alignment in the year 2014 itself and the state government is going ahead with this plan. He said that six metre clearance for Kochi Metro Rail was given above the flyover as per the direction of Mr Sreedharan. He also said charges without any factual basis are being made over the issue now. The minister said that the investigation and layout of the flyover was made during the tenure of the last UDF Government and approved by it. He said that work on the flyover was undertaken by the LDF Government though it has to be executed by NHAI because it believed that governance is a continuous process.
In a bizarre clarification, Mr Sudhakaran said in the statement that two flyovers in three lanes are being built which have 717 metre length in the Thiruvananthapuram direction and 703 metre length in the Aluva direction. Each flyover has 12 spans of 30 metre and two centre spans having 40 metre. There will be two slip roads to enter Vyttila Mobility Hub on the flanks of the flyover also. These will have 320 metre length on the southern side and 375 metre length on the northern side, he said. There will be service roads and street lights and drainage. He asserted that the flyover was designed by expert engineers.
He said that several people are competing with each other to give their designs and suggestions for the flyover and it is not possible for the government to consider all. While KITCO's alternative proposal which enables signal free junction does not mention any additional land acquisition, the Minister said that the government decided to go ahead with the current design as it did not want to evict people and acquire land. The Minister said that to assess some of the proposals from different quarters and incorporate it in the current design, an expert panel has been authorised. The panel comprises PWD principal secretary, NH roads, bridges and design chief engineers and NHAI project officer.
He charged that each one was proposing his/her interest with regard to the flyover. "Publicising concept projects in the media is a peculiarity of Ernakulam and the Government cannot go after them. Government proposes implementing the project without more financial commitment and land acquisition," he said. The Minister also made it clear that the government does not propose to take over any future project that comes under NHAI.
Kerala High Court nudges minister for alternate plan
At long last the Kerala High Court too has understood the magnitude of the mess that Vyttila will face even after the construction of the current flyover. On Friday it asked the Government whether it was possible for it to convene a meeting of the parties concerned to discuss their apprehensions regarding the flyover.
The court also asked the government whether it can’t consider the alternative proposals for Vyttila flyover which do away with signal lights completely at the junction. These queries were made by the court when a PIL by Nettur native Shameer Abdulla came up before the court. The petition will be considered again this week. The court reminded the government that projects that use the tax payers’ money should benefit all.
It also reminded the government that not just two roads but all roads joining at the junction should be comprehensively covered in the plan and the project should be beneficial to the coming generations also. The petitioner also wanted to reconstitute the committee constituted for reviewing the project. The petitioner has submitted an alternative proposal that does away with signals. The High Court had earlier rejected a similar petition by Shameer saying it will inform the Government about the proposal.