Last Wednesday, Kerala witnessed a statewide shutdown when the Sabarimala Protection Committee called for a 12-hour hartal in retaliation to the SC judgement allowing the entry of women of all ages to the hill shrine last month.
Even the state road transport corporation had to suspend its operations for the day after a bus was vandalised by protestors at Laka near Nilakkal camp.
As the state reeled under violence and unrest, a group of taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers in Cheruthuruthy and Shoranur decided to put this time to better use by filling potholes across a major road in the town.
The folks who spearheaded this initiative included K Rasheed, S A Ani, A P Pradeep, M K Viju, A G Siraj, A P Pratheesh, V G Manikandan and V K Kuttan.
With potholes lining the entire stretch of road between SMP Junction and the Old Cochin Bridge, the daily fare of life for citizens in the area had become quite dicey and tiresome.
The condition of the roads and the continuous traffic blockades had also been amounting to a lot of accidents along with altercations between drivers owing to over-speeding. At the same time, drivers had to drive at ridiculously slow paces to avoid getting stuck in the potholes.
With emergency services like ambulances and the fire force often getting wedged in the traffic, the worst affected in the town were accident victims and pregnant women.
“Due to the poor condition of the road, we are not able to take pregnant ladies to [the] hospital fast,” said the drivers to Mathrubhumi, a local Malayalam daily.
Thanks to these folks, there has been some respite to the precarious situation in Shoranur. We hope that their intervention draws the attention of local authorities and better, longstanding solutions come into place.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)