Kerala Cabinet decided to institute an enquiry by a four-member commission into the bursting of pipeline supplying water to part of Thiruvananthapuram city on the eve of the Attukal Pongala festival in the city.
An emergency meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, which reviewed the situation and took decisions to supply additional quantities of water by tankers, named former Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar to head the enquiry. Additional Director General of Police P. Chandrasekhar, Chief Technical Examiner of Kerala Water Authority Abraham Joseph and Chief Engineer of the Water Authority C. Supran will be the other members of the Commission.
Briefing the media, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that he was not giving an opinion now on the question whether sabotage could be inferred. The government was not ruling out any possibility as the pipeline had burst at four places. The enquiry would be completed at the earliest.
The Chief Minister said that supply to the Attukal area would not be hit as the feeder pipelines were different. Four pipe lines from the Aruvikara Dam supplied 260 million litres of water a day to the city. Of these, one pipeline supplying 82 million litres a day had cracks at four places.
The pipeline supplying 36 million litres a day to the Attukal area had developed no fault and the two tanks fed by it had full storage. At the same time, supply to Vellayambalam, Uloor, Kesavadasapuram, Medical College, Pattoor and Petta areas would be affected. This posed an emergency situation as lakks of people were converging on the city for the Pongala festival. So, the government had pressed into service 50 tankers to ensure availability of water in those areas. If necessary, more tankers would be fetched. The storage tank at PTP Nagar was stocking 2.5 million litres of water for filling the tankers.
Mr. Chandy said that people in those areas could request water supply by dialing four telephones of the control room set up at Vellayambalam. The telephone numbers were 2322674, 9447976622, 8547638184 and 8547638181. Water tankers were being placed in advance at the Medical College Hospital.
He said that the repair of the burst pipelines have already commenced and everything humanly possible was being done to complete the repairs at the earliest. Still, the repairs would take 12 to 20 hours. Crisis management would be in place till 10 pm on Tuesday. The overall control and coordination of among departments would be done by the Chief Secretary K. Jose Cyriac. Field operations would be under control of the district collector.
He said that all arrangements for smooth conduct of the festival had been done in consultation with the Attukal temple committee. Additional police had been deployed in areas such as Petta and Pattoor.