Fathima Beevi sits outside her home at Karimadom Colony and watches the rice she’s cooking come to a slow boil. As she absently ladles the contents of the frothing pot, she jerks her head in the direction of the stream of drainage water snaking through the patchwork of decrepit homes that make up most of the colony near the Attakulangara bypass.
“What do you do? How many times can you get a Minister or any authority to come here and make promises? So we cook, eat, and wash beside open drains because there is no choice,” says the grandmother of four, and resident of a single-room house that accommodates two families.
She is not the only one. The seven new flats designed by the Centre for Science and Technology for Rural Development (COSTFORD), as part of the Centre-funded Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) scheme being implemented by the city Corporation, accommodate 140 families. Close to 400 are waiting their turn.
Living in perennial fear of rain and outbreak of diseases is taking its toll on the inhabitants. All they seek is respite from poor drainage facilities.
“Forget the monsoon season, an hour of heavy rainfall is enough for these homes to be flooded,” said N. Suresh, a resident.
While some houses are slightly above the drain’s level, others are just inches above the ground and a slight ripple in the drain will send the contaminated water indoors.
“There are sufficient water taps and since this area is low-lying, we rarely face water shortage. We are more concerned about whether our drinking water will get contaminated,” said Mr. Suresh, pointing at the taps situated close to the sewage stream.
21 blocks more
The civic body is focussing more on the completion of the remaining 21 blocks, but no immediate flood mitigation project is in the pipeline.
A senior official told The Hindu that once the hubbub surrounding the recently presented Corporation budget dies down, a Cluster Development Committee meeting would be held to pave way for COSTFORD to finish the work it began in 2008.
Their approach includes creating a proper sewerage network. Disputes surrounding the beneficiary list have posed delays but specific reference has been made in the budget about commencing the next phase of construction at the Karimadom Colony.