Areas yet to be connected to sewage plant

More than a year after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy issued orders during an episode of his ‘Sutharya Keralam’ programme, asking the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to complete sewerage pipe-laying works at Maruthankuzhy, the work is pending.

The Chief Minister’s order had come after a retired government employee P. Jayakumar of Maruthankuzhy brought it to Mr. Chandy’s notice that work on sewerage pipelines in the area, part of the E-Block of the city’s sewerage network, was yet to be completed though the pipes were laid in 1994.

Preliminary works for the network had begun in 1984 when the Thiruvananthapuram Sewerage Scheme was launched. Even now, more than 25,000 people in the area are denied connection to the city’s first sewage treatment plant at Muttathara since the network is incomplete.

Mr. Jayakumar said areas in the 13 other sewerage blocks were not connected to the plant because pipes were yet to be laid there. Here the case was different since pipes were laid 20 years ago, but were yet to be connected to the mainline. Crores of rupees could be lost if the pipes were damaged by time.

Mr. Jayakumar said pipelines in the Kootamvila area, those from Edapazhanji to Kootamvila, were yet to be connected to the mainline at Jagathy. The sewerage scheme for the E-Block covered areas under the Pangode zone, including Maruthankuzhy, Vettamukku, Pangode, Edapazhanji, Chadiyara and parts of Poojapura.

The sewerage generated here was to be collected in a well at Valiyavila and pumped to a silting chamber at Vettamukku. A pump house would have to be constructed at Kundamankadavu near Valiyavila as well. The delay in acquiring land for this too delayed the project.

KWA officials said a detailed project report for the remaining work, with an estimate of Rs.60 crore, was submitted to the government for administrative sanction. The sanction was yet to come, a senior official said.

However, works that could be taken up with existing funds and without major land acquisition issues were progressing. Tender processes were on for these works while land acquisition procedures for the pumping station too were on. The KWA had in fact informed the Chief Minister that it would require up to 18 months to implement his order.

The local legislator, K. Muraleedharan, had raised the issue in the Assembly through a submission, asking the government to speed up the process, and to ensure that at least the areas where the pipes were laid were connected to the mainline and in turn, to the STP at Muttathara.

“An order from the Chief Minister, a submission and subsequent follow-ups from a legislator, all have failed to speed up the work. What is that the people should ask for now?” asks Mr. Jayakumar.