Tidal waves lashing the coast has thrown up an unexpected sight for the residents of Valiathura.
The waves, which have washed away a major portion of the beach near the Valiathura football ground, exposed on Friday an eight-inch pipeline, which was hitherto buried about three to four ft beneath the ground.
The pipe, locals say, could have been laid during the 1930s, when the Valiathura port was active, and was most probably part of the distribution network of the Willingdon Water Works Trivandrum, the ‘ancestor’ of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA).
KWA Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh said his men would be despatched to the spot on Saturday to examine the pipeline. The pipe could be part of those laid for the Willingdon Water Works, with one of the pipes of that period running beneath the airport runway, he said.
Robert Panipillai, a Valiathura-based activist who is now compiling the history of the place, says he is sure about the pipeline being of the King’s era, since the nearby St. Antony’s Forane Church has bills of the Willingdon Water Works Trivandrum dating back to the mid 1930s. The pipeline could also have been laid to cater to the needs of the Valiathura port, which was very active in those days.
Interestingly, Mr. Panipillai says there are around seven public taps installed on a stretch of about 1.5 km from Valiathura, up to the southern end of the Shangumughom beach. Most of them are in working condition even now. In fact, 65-old-Gracy was drawing water from the final one of the seven on Friday. 90-year-old Stanzalas, another senior resident of the area, remembers that the tap was installed about 70 years ago, maybe along with the pipeline that surfaced on Friday.
“These taps give us water even when the other public taps, laid much later and through which the KWA and the Corporation supply us water, go dry,” he said.
“Now that the authorities have come to know about the pipeline that has surfaced and about the old taps that are still serving us, we hope nothing will be done that will disturb the present situation,” Mr. Panipillai says.