Political spat in Kerala over inferior flyover quality

Political spat in Kerala over inferior flyover quality

Close on the heels of a hardly three-year-old flyover at Kochi in Kerala suffering serious structural damages owing to poor construction quality, another flyover under construction in Kochi was also reported to have serious issues with the quality of construction.

This indeed came as a blessing in disguise for the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala, as it was in the back foot over the alleged irregularities in the construction of the three-year-old Palarivattom flyover on NH 66, which took place during the term of the previous Congress government in Kerala.

The Vyttila flyover, which is around five kilometres from the Palarivattom on the NH itself, is now under constriction and was reported to have quality issues. Hence Congress is now using it as a tit for tat to accuse the ruling left-front government of corruption in construction.

The Palarivattom flyover constructed during the term of the previous Congress-led government in Kerala and commissioned in October 2016 was recently closed for traffic following serious structural damages. It was constructed for Rs. 42 crore and was estimated to require at least Rs. 18.5 crore for restoration. The ruling left-front in Kerala used the issue to attack the Congress of corruption and even a Vigilance probe into the alleged irregularities and corruption in the construction was initiated.

It was at such a juncture that a report of the Kerala public works department citing serious quality concerns on the Vyttila flyover came out the other day. Congress leaders are now using the issue to accuse the ruling-left front government of corruption in construction. Congress workers led by MLA P T Thomas also staged a protest march the other day demanding probe into the corruption in the Vyttila flyover construction.

Meanwhile, the government have suspended a PWD official on charges of leaking out the adverse report on the Vyttila flyover. The PWD report said that the construction was of inferior quality and the prescribed concreting procedures were mot followed. It also pointed out a lack of effective supervision of the constriction. But the government's justification was that it was an old report and a further inspection by a team of experts did not find any fault with the construction. About 70 per cent construction of the Vyttila flyover was over.