Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 11 April 2021 4.49 AM IST

Good lessons from Palarivattom


Thoppilbhasi has written a play titled 'Aliyan Vannathu Nannai'. When the groom’s brother comes home, the wife will prepare good fish curry. When the rice is served, the householder also gets a good piece. So the householder would occasionally say that it is good that groom’s brother has come home. This is just a gist of the play. There is no apparent connection between this play and the Palarivattom bridge. From another point of view, every Malayalee knows that the Palarivattom bridge was badly damaged. Its biggest advantage was that it exposed the corruption that took place during the UDF regime.
Kerala has witnessed the imprisonment of a prominent person who was responsible for the construction of the bridge and a higher up escaping from that fate by a whisker. The Palarivattom Bridge has become the biggest representation of politicians confining the protection given to the people’s life and property to rhetoric and focusing only on corruption. And the bridge taught many other lessons as well.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) surprised us by completing the Palarivattom flyover in five months and ten days, with the allotted time expecte of renovating it in eight months.

The main name to be held in reverence in this context is E Sreedharan himself. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who called him on the phone and handed over the responsibility.

The role played by Public Works Minister G.Sudharan is not small at all. Nothing can happen here without the awakening of political will. So it was these two who prepared the bridge for Sreedharan's arrival. DMRC Chief Engineer Keshav Chandran, who oversaw the renovation from the ground is another important person to be commended for the management of the renovation. Sreedharan used to come and go from Ponnani from time to time. The DMRC Chief Engineer will show Sreedharan the day's work via video conferencing. Suggestions will be accepted and may be impmented. That is how the work was completed before the target period. The Uralungal Society contractors who carried out the construction work, deserves equal praise.
Another lesson taught by the Palarivattom bridge is that the renovation did not cost the state government even five paise.

When the first phase of the Metro from Aluva to Pettah was completed, the DMRC had a surplus of about Rs 30 crore. This is because the work was completed for less than the estimated cost. This was possible only because there was no corruption. It is a common practice to repeatedly increase the estimated amount for the work of government departments. The DMRC is not liable to return this excess money to the Government. They are entitled to the excess amount as per the contract. From this amount they spent money for renovations. Rs 15 crore was spent till January 1. No matter how high the total cost is, it will be less than Rs 20 crore. The government can recover this amount from RTS Projects, the company that originally built the bridge. The contract stipulates that the construction company will have to pay for the repairs if they are completed within three years of completion. The government has started making appointments for that. In other words, the damage to the bridge will turn into a profit of Rs 20 crore for the government. But from a people's point of view, this is not a profit. The corrupt had already played with the lives of the people. Some departments of government are not far behind in playing with life of the people, even in small things. On the Kerala Kaumudi Thiruvananthapuram regional page on Thursday, there was a report with the title 'How many more should fall to set it right? It had reference to the demolished road near Vanchiyoor for some works by Water Authority. A girl fell into a duct and injured his shoulder bone. Compensation for the victims of such incidents should be extracted from officers concerned.

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