KWA authorities say the project will be completed by January

The deadline for replacement of the Kerala Water Authority’s 1,200-mm pre-stressed concrete (PSC) transmission mainline, which brings water from Aruvikkara to the city, with mild steel (MS) pipeline has been extended again.

If it were the rains that earlier stretched the deadline from June to September, this time it is the rocky terrain in and around Vazhayila that is causing the extension of the deadline.

The public utility now says the project will be completed by January.

9,600-m stretch

The KWA officials said work on replacing the PSC pipe with the comparatively stronger MS pipe had been done for 6,400 m of the total stretch of about 9,600 m.

Of the remaining length, 2,600 m was on the Kalathukal-Mukkola stretch, on which work was expected to start in a week’s time.

But the Kalathukal-Mukkola stretch was not what worried the workforce. What troubled them was a 100-m distance on the Vazhayila-Mukkola stretch.

A senior KWA official said the actual length on this stretch was 1,500 m, of which 1,400 m had been completed. The remaining 100 m had been left untouched because it passed through rocky terrain; the rocks had to be blasted and removed. Work here moved in at a slow pace, as high-intensity blasts were not possible in the residential area.

The rocky terrain meant that in the Vazhayila region, the pipe would pass through a channel entirely cut through rocks, the official said.

But for this part of the stretch, the work had picked up smoothly though held up for over two months during the monsoon.

The deadline of June, set by Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph in March this year, for the work was unrealistic, the KWA officials said, given the tough nature of the work involved.

It was evident right from the beginning that the Rs.50-crore project would be time consuming, they added.

Each section of the MS pipeline weighed around five tonnes.

Depositing it in the trenches was not an easy task. Ground preparation, trench digging, and processes such as blasting of rocks were time-consuming affairs.

Despite such odds, the project was moving at a good pace compared to other similar projects taken up by the KWA earlier, they said.