High drama as flyover has an ‘informal’ opening

Drama unfurled on a rainy Tuesday evening when vehicles headed in the direction of Edappally drove up the yet-to-be-opened Vyttila flyover after some unidentified persons removed the barriers only for the police to send the motorists back, clogging the flyover and sparking all-round confusion and protests for a while.

The flyover is slated to be formally opened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday. The vehicles were found scaling the structure around 7.30 p.m., following which the police immediately rushed to the scene and stopped them on their tracks.

The Maradu police have registered a case against 10-odd persons “identifiable by sight”, invoking relevant provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and IPC Sections 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) and 447 (criminal trespass).

“The situation was brought under control immediately, as the motorists were sent back. Someone seems to have removed the barriers and waved the vehicles on to the flyover without authorisation,” police sources said.

However, the decision of the police not to remove barriers on the other side of the flyover and let the vehicles exit along the Ponnurunni side did not go down well with a section of motorists who threatened to protest against the resultant hardship. The police, it is learnt, have noted the registration numbers of the erring vehicles, besides collecting the footage of the incident from television channels.

Police presence around the flyover had been scaled up in the face of protests by organisations like V4 Kochi against the alleged delay in opening the flyover despite its completion. V4 Kochi activists who were holding a meeting at Palarivattom rushed to the scene on learning about the incident.

“This amounts to people’s inauguration of the flyover. We will take legal recourse and approach the High Court against police action denying the motorists their right to use the flyover which was built using taxpayer’s money and which has already been handed over to the Public Works Department by the contractor on completion,” said Nipun Cherian, campaign controller of V4 Kochi.

Though guards are usually present at entry points to the flyover, they were missing at the point where vehicles entered.

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