Coir products from Kerala to strengthen the roads of other States
The fact that Kerala has bagged a handsome order of over Rs 2 Crore coir geotextiles from the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu to reinforce their roads is a matter of delight. However the immediate query that pops up in every Malayalees mind would be the apathy of the administration in making use of these materials in making the roads of Kerala in motorable condition. Kerala roads have been in the news for all the wrong reasons as they remain in pitiable condition riddled with potholes all round the year. While Kerala has succeeded in eying at the commercial aspects of geo textiles, it has turned a Nelson’s eye at making use of this materials in solving its own road repair woes.
Geotextiles are highly effective in not just stabilizing roads but also can be used in reinforcing roads, rails, river embankments and air fields. The best part is that these natural products can be used as absorbants of toxic contents in waste dump areas, acoustic barriers for noise control in sports arenas and many more. Because of its high sound-proof property, geotextiles have even been recommended by the Dutch and German Government agencies for noise reduction in environmentally sensitive areas and as acoustic barriers in homes. Kerala’s coir geotextile is also well poised to enter the international market like Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
It is sad that these high value products, which have received acclaims from all over the world have never been used in improving the roads and living conditions of the native people of Kerala. While these products are being exploited only as export items that fetch handsome revenue for the coffers, Kerala roads remain destined as death traps for thousands of commuters. Kerala has to put up with high accident rates due to the pathetic road conditions and outdated road maintenance mechanisms, which often end up as mere eye wash. Even when there are proven materials that can bring about a quality change in the way we travel, why is that these products always fail to reach the common man? Well, will this query also remain as yet another social issue without an answer!