Chief Minister visits Karimadom colony after the flood

It was a tough tread for Syedal Ali, 14, before he could meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who was visiting Karimadom colony.

He had to rush through thick puddles of sludge and small pools formed in the heavy rain that lashed the city last week.

He crossed a rickety bridge across a drainage canal behind his dilapidated house and announced the Chief Minister's arrival to the womenfolk.

He also hailed his friends, some of them examining their drenched school books, to accompany him. He jostled his way through the crowd, a large posse of policemen, and journalists, to meet the Chief Minister who was assuring the residents of the colony of all help to rebuild their lives shattered in the floods.

Dilapidated homes, deposits of sludge and dirt inside homes, and pain and drudgery all around was what greeted Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at the colony on Wednesday. Accompanied by Transport Minister V.S. Sivakumar, the Chief Minister inspected the condition of the houses and heard the grievances of the residents.

Mr. Chandy announced the immediate construction of all the 121 buildings which had been destroyed and the renovation of over 100 damaged structures. The apartment complex being built in the colony would also be completed in a time-bound manner, Mr. Chandy said. Some residents chose to stay aloof. Others like J. Rasheeda rushed to see the Chief Minister up close and tell him about her difficulties. In front of her house, she pointed to the huge crack at the side of the main wall.

“The heavy rain had weakened the basement and the wall developed this crack. The power meter got damaged in the rain and there is no power in the house,” Ms. Rasheeda said. When asked about the residents of the adjacent house which was completely destroyed, she explained that a woman and her child had been in hospital with fever.

“Vijayan, the breadwinner of the house, should work everyday to make a living. Due to the rain, he has not been able to go to work. All his money is spent on medicines. Many others are facing the same situation,” she said.

Though Syedal could hardly hear what the Minister said, he voiced his hope that officials would reconstruct an outlet for the drainage flowing behind his house.

“The starting point of the drainage canal was ‘Chambal kulam' which was a garbage dumping ground and most toilet outlets cleared in this drainage. When rained, the drainage overflowed and filled my house. I lost all my books,” said Sulfath, a standard VII student of Government Girls High School, Manacaud.

Attakulangara ward councillor G. Sulaiman said the government had built 80 houses and the remaining would be constructed soon. Funds had been allocated for the reconstruction of outlets for the drainage system in the colony.