Work on 1,200-mm transmission main to Peroorkada

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA), stung by criticism from various quarters over its proposals to dig up recently laid roads in the city, has come out saying that the work is inevitable and that it has given notice to the Kerala Road Fund Board before the roads were laid.

The proposed work was to lay a 1,200-mm mild steel (MS) transmission main from Aruvikkara to the Peroorkada interconnection point via Irumba, Kalathukal, Kachani, Mukkola and Vazhayila. The project estimate was Rs.49.11 crore and was part of the 2011 Vote on Account speech of the Finance Minister in the Assembly, KWA officials said, pointing out that regular leakages and bursts in the existing line, laid in 1998, along with high maintenance and repair costs, had made the work inevitable.

A meeting on October 13, 2011, chaired by Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph along with Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, K. Muraleedharan, MLA, Public Works Department engineers and KWA senior officials had approved the project report, after which administrative sanction was accorded on March 16, 2012. The KWA Project Division executive engineer then wrote to the Road Fund Board project manager on March 23, informing the scope of the work and requesting to leave a strip of two metres on the right side of the Peroorkada-Vazhayila road un-tarred till the pipeline work was completed.

On April 28, 2012, the KRFB chief executive officer wrote to the KWA executive engineer, asking to participate in a meeting convened by K. Muraleedharan, MLA, to discuss the project.

“It was decided at that meeting, held on May 3, 2012, that KRFB would go ahead with the work since it could not be delayed further and that KWA would remit the amount needed for restoration. Further, there was a joint inspection by the KRFB officials and the KWA on October 29, after which the route was fixed. No objections were raised at that time. How can we be blamed now and how can some officials say that they did not know about the project,” a senior KWA official said.

The official said the entire road was not being dug up. The digging was for a short stretch where the pipeline road could not be used since it already had three other mainlines lying side by side and a fourth one was impossible. An elevated pipeline too was out of question because the foundation laying could disturb the other pipelines, the cost was much higher and residents were against it, he said, adding that all options were examined to avoid digging up the road to the maximum extent possible.