The monsoon barely a couple of months away, residents of low-lying regions in the city are already a worried lot, pointing out that even the first phase of a much-awaited flood management project, announced after the December 2011 floods, was still on paper.
The Rs.27 crore-first phase of the project, part of Rs.126 crore-project for flood control and related measures in Thiruvananthapuram city was approved in January itself by the State Cabinet. However, three months later, the project is yet to get past the tendering process, forget the actual objective of completion before this monsoon.
The first phase, according to Irrigation officials, aimed at protection and reconstruction of bunds and sidewalls of the Killi river, removal of sand banks and vegetation in the Killi and Karamana rivers, and clearing of the Vanchiyoor, Ulloor, Amayizhanjan, Thekkanakkara and Pattom water streams, the TS Canal and drains apart from construction of new walls at meandering portions of the Killi river. This was aimed at immediate mitigation of the flooding threat faced by the city while the latter phases of the project would tackle the issue on a much wider canvas.
The project, apart from providing immediate relief to low-lying areas, was also expected to kick-start a wholistic approach and a much-wanted aggression against several manmade complications including encroachments of water bodies, canals and drainages. For instance, the bottleneck at Maruthankuzhy check dam or the regular flooding of the Karimadom tank colony with raw sewage water were expected to be looked at once the project progressed. The width of the Amayizhanjan canal, which had over the years shrunken from around 50 metres to barely 15 metres, too was expected to become a subject of study and action.
However, despite the monsoon approaching and swift action from the Government, the project is dragging on, with the sole progress so far being issuing of tenders for work from the Kaduvetty Regulator to Pallathukadavu, according to a senior official.
The second phase of the project, to materialize if the first phase untangles itself from alleged bureaucratic delays, would focus on flood control at areas including Yamuna Nagar and Cauvery Garden and at Karimadom at a cost of Rs.50 crore while Rs. 49 crore would be spent for more flood control works in the Killi river.