40 protesters arrested from worksite near Mulanthuruthy

A portion of the pipe-laying work for the Piravom water supply scheme was carried out under police protection on Monday. The work involves digging up half of the main road to lay the pipeline.

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) went about its work, even as 40 people were arrested after they laid siege to the site near Vattakunnu junction, near Mulanthuruthy.

The project is expected to augment water supply to Kochi Corporation and nearby areas by bringing water from the Piravom river to the 100 mld treatment plant located about 22 km away at Maradu. Protests against digging up the main road to lay the pipe have delayed work on the scheme. As per the revised alignment of the project, 4.5 km of the main road from Piravom to Mulanthuruthy and 5 km of the side road will have to be dug up. The Samyukta Samara Samithy formed to protest against the road-digging had called for agitations whenever KWA announced its work schedule.

Emmauel Paul, circle inspector, Piravom, told The Hindu that the protestors, who were released later, were not part of the Samara Samithy, but were a group of local people allied with political and social organisations.

The superintending engineer in-charge of the JNNURM project said only one 6 m pipe could be placed after the day’s work.

M.T. Paulose, chairman of the Samara Samithy, said they would block the work at any place from Pepathy to Pulickamaly Kavala from Tuesday. The Samithy is opposing the work on the grounds that KWA has not provided funds for road repair after the work. This will delay the resurfacing, Mr. Paulose said.

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