Lost faith in officials roaming in AC cars: Pothole death angers Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court pulled up the state government and asked how many more must die before the state’s pothole-ridden roads are repaired. Friday’s stinging condemnation comes after a 23-year-old motorbike rider was crushed to death while negotiating a pothole in Kochi a day earlier. The court also tendered an oral apology to the parents of the deceased.

“A young man has lost his life on the road. The pillar of a family has been lost. We bow our heads in shame. The court apologizes to the parents of the young man on behalf of the society,” Justice Devan Ramachandran observed while hearing another accident case.

The court slammed the government and said some of its recent orders on damaged roads had not been implemented properly and added that it had “lost faith” in government officials who “roam around in AC cars”.

“The court had ordered repairs of the damaged roads in Kochi several times but nothing happened. The government officials who roam around in AC cars will not be able to understand commoners’ woes. The court has lost faith in officials,” the judge observed.

The court said officials should also tender an apology to the parents of the food delivery boy and later named a three-member amicus curie tasked with submitting a report in a week.

Meanwhile State Public Works Department Minister G Sudhakaran suspended four officials for alleged negligence. Ernakulam district collector S Suhas visited the family of the deceased Yadu Lal, who was the lone bread-earner of the family. His mother is a cancer patient. The state government announced Rs 10 lakh compensation to the family. The tragic pothole-related death in Kochi, second in a week, has triggered an outrage in the state.

The Thursday tragedy occurred near the Palarivattom flyover which was closed for traffic due to major construction faults. The flyover’s poor construction, started by the previous UDF government and finished by the present LDF government, has been attributed to a corrupt nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and contractors.

It had led to the arrests of the contractor and the former Public Works Department secretary T O Sooraj, but both were released on bail later.

The latest incident has triggered the usual blame game between various departments. PWD blamed the state water authority for digging up the road first and not repairing it properly after completing work on a waterline.

The latest accident came two weeks after the HC passed severe strictures against the PWD department citing poor condition of the roads in Kochi.

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