KOCHI: The Palarivattom flyover scam, in which the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau on Friday arrested four persons including a senior IAS official, is glaring example of the mismanagement and corruption that have been plaguing the public works department as well as the apathy and neglect that the political and bureaucratic system shows to the crying need for infrastructure in their bid to line their pockets.
The construction of the 442-metre flyover was started in 2014 and was commissioned in 2016 as part of the ‘100-bridges in 100 days’ scheme of then UDF government and under PWD minister V.K. Ibrahim Kunju. The flyover developed cracks hardly after one and a half year later and the bridge was closed on May 1 this year for “repairs that would be completed in 30 days.” However, as the work progressed, major engineering defects, including structural ones, surfaced, forcing the government to order an investigation by the Ernakulam unit of the VACB.
Later in June, a team from IIT Madras visited the bridge and submitted a report to the PWD minister highlighting the flaws in construction. The initial examination found cracks at girders and pier caps caused reportedly due to inadequate usage of cement and steel.
The vigilance questioned the officials several times in the course of the probe and registered a case against 17 officials of Roads and Bridges Development Corporation including its then managing director A.P.M Mohammed Hanish, consultancy Kitco and the contractor Delhi-based RDS Projects.