First phase development of Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur canal

Only 12 km of the 18.49 km Kovalam-Akkulam stretch of the Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur (TS) canal will be developed initially for inland navigation, tourism, and recreational purposes. The Moonattumukku-Akkulam stretch has been chosen for the first phase of works.

It was decided not to launch works on the remaining 6.49 km of the canal, from Moonattumukku to Kovalam, in view of encroachments and cross-structures with low clearance, sources said. With this, the move to commence cruise operations from Kovalam to the airport will be shelved for a while.

An investigation for the Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation Department had found that the 18.49-km canal is ‘technically feasible’ for development. A meeting convened recently by the department, chaired by Additional Chief Secretary V. J. Kurian, decided to go ahead with the cleaning and dredging of the 12-km stretch.

Based on the study carried out by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac), a Detailed Project Report was prepared by KITCO. It was found that waterway was stagnant in many places due to sewage disposal, growth of water hyacinth and dumping of waste. The focus of the intervention would be on sewage.

New water connections

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had been asked to close the illegal sewage connections to the canal. A sum of Rs.4 crore had been allotted to provide new connections to over 500 families living on the canal banks.

The department would utilise Rs.10 crore for de-silting the canal. The balance amount needed for the development of the canal would be secured from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), sources added.

Initially, boats with a clearance of 4 metres would be able to move along the stretch. New bridges and cross structures to be constructed in the stretch would have a height of 5.5 metres so that bigger vessels can cruise along

Most of the environmental issues on the 18.49-km stretch are between Moonattumukku and Venpalavattom where 700 families are settled on the banks of the canal. The available space would be used for creating a walkway, and for installing cameras to prevent dumping of waste.