No parking at Ghat Road

High level meet decides on curbs from November 1.

KOZHIKODE: The high-level meeting held to discuss on the expansion of Ghat Road connecting Kozhikode and Wayanad, and for exploring possibilities for alternative roads, held on Friday at Collectorate here, has decided to ban parking of vehicles on the ghat section from November 1. The incessant traffic blocks caused by parking of tourist vehicles and the regular dumping of waste in the valley by tourists and regular commuters, are the reasons that led to such a decision. Alternative parking arrangements will be made at Lakkidy in Wayanad to facilitate sightseeing at the view point.

The Puthuppadi panchayat and District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Kozhik-ode will join hands with police to set up a cleaning and monitoring squad in the Ghat road to check illegal parking, waste dumping and other anti-social activities. Held at the Collectorate Conference Hall here, Wayanad District collector S. Suhas, Kozhikode district collector U.V. Jose, district panchayat presidents of two districts P. Ushakumari (Wayanad) and Babu Parassery (Kozhikode), Kozhikode divisional forest officer K.K. Sunilkumar, M.I. Shanawas MP, officials of PWD, District Tourism Promotion Council, police and other revenue officials, participated in the meeting. The PWD department will speed up the repairing works.

The police department was directed to submit a proposal for installing CCTV cameras in the ghats for better monitoring of vehicular movement, waste dumping and illegal parking. KSEB has already submitted a proposal for complete electrification of the Ghat Road which would be given a push by the district administration. On the widening of Ghat Road DFO K.K. Sunilkumar said that if the government submits a proposal to the union ministry of forest and environment for widening of the hairpin bents as well as the narrow stretches, there will not be much hurdles as the land necessary would be only nominal. “The proposal for widening of hairpin bents is almost cleared”, he said, adding that for widening the narrow stretches for 5 meters 2 hectors land is enough and for up to 10 meters the total land to be availed would be around 5 hectors.

On the illegal constructions in the reach proper action would be initiated as per the report of Regional Town Planner who had examined the spot recently. On setting up a Fire and Rescue Department unit at Adivaram, the Puthuppady panchayat president expressed willingness to provide land. On setting up a weighing bridge to monitor the weight of truck load, M.I. Shanawas MP has promised to provide sufficient funds for purchasing the machinery. However the MLAs of Kalpetta and Tiruvambadi, C.K .Saseendran and George M. Thomas were conspicuous with their absence.

Alternative roads not feasible

Rather than constructing alternative roads to the Ghat Road it would be easier to get environmental clearance for expanding the Ghat stretch of NH 266, according to forest department. For widening the Ghat Road up to 10 meters, the land to be availed is just 5 hectors, it was pointed out. Kozhikode DFO K.K. Sunilkumar pointed out the grave environmental damages the new roads would cause in the ecologically sensitive zone in the high-level meeting held on Friday.

The meeting considered the Adivaram-Chippilithode-Lakkidy Road and Poozhithode-Padinjarethara Road as alternatives for the Ghat Road. Participa-ting in the discussions Mr Sunilkumar said that the Chippilithode-Lakkidy road would directly affect 16 hectors land while the indirect impact would be on 32 hectors forest land.

Referring to The Poozhithode-Padinjarethara Road he said that the road was rejected in the first phase by the union ministry of forests and environment due to its ecologically sensitive nature. Part of the stretch moves through the sanctuary area which is another factor which may result in denial for the project, it was pointed out.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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