Harbour engineering to give revised estimates

Two flash floods in a span of a few weeks and several unanswered questions later, the city’s wait for a solution to sudden floods is likely to continue as the Veli breakwater project still hangs in balance.

The project, which secured the necessary environmental clearance from the Union government early last year, is caught in ‘paperwork delay’ as the Harbour Engineering Department (HED) has been told to revise the detailed project report (DPR) in accordance with the latest schedule of rates.

The project, originally mooted under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) about five years ago, was delayed first when the environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests took time. By the time the clearance came, the market situation had changed and the estimates shot up. The original estimate, pegged at Rs.11.5 crore, went up to Rs.16 crore.

The HED had approached the government with a revised DPR for administrative sanction late last year. Now, with the work yet to begin and the financial year nearing its end, the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP), the funding agency for the project, has asked the HED to once again revise the DPR in accordance with the latest schedule of rates.

After the revised DPR, expected to be submitted by the HED by the end of January, is accorded sanction, the implementing agency would get three years to complete the work, said a KSUDP official.

The project envisages two breakwater structures at Veli to ensure that sandbars are not formed there. Sandbars have caused stagnation of the water in the lake, and in turn, resulted in waste clogging the lake apart from flooding of parts of the city.

Officials had earlier allayed fears over the structures affecting the environment at large, for instance its impact on the marine life and also possible heightening of sea erosion to either side of the structures, stating that the breakwater structures would be constructed only in an environment-friendly manner.