Rs.126-crore flood control project remains largely on paper

The monsoon just over a month away, residents of the low-lying regions of the city are already a worried lot, pointing out that even the first phase of the 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 a Rs.126-crore project for flood control and related measures in the capital 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.

First phase

The first phase, according to Irrigation officials, aimed at strengthening and reconstructing the bunds and sidewalls of the Killi river; removing sand banks and vegetation in the Killi and Karamana rivers; and clearing of the Vanchiyoor, Ulloor, Amayizhanjan, Thekkanankara and Pattom canals, the Parvathi Puthanar 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 launch a holistic approach and a much-wanted aggression against several manmade complications, including encroachments on water bodies, canals and drainages.

For instance, the bottleneck at Maruthankuzhy check dam or the regular flooding of the Karimadom tank colony with sewage water were expected to be looked at once the project progressed.

The width of the Amayizhanjan canal, which had over the years shrunk 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.

Caught in red tape

The second phase of the project, to materialise 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.