Lavender Canal, once a fresh water canal, is a stinking drain today. During summer , they get a breather, but the worse comes during monsoon and winter season.

The canal that flows alongside the city’s oldest habitat, Kotaveedhi, has a unique name; it is called the Lavender Canal. And there was every reason for the British to give that name, as it was then a free flowing fresh water canal that linked the Meghadrigedda to the present shipping channel and colourful lavender plants embellished its banks all through.

But today, it is a stinking drain breeding mosquitoes. The residents who have inhabited the banks since last six decades, at present not only have to bear with the bad odour but fight the mosquito menace.

During summer , they get a breather, but the worse comes during monsoon and winter season.

“Last year about 60 persons were affected with malaria,” said Md. Alikhan a senior citizen.

Most of the drains in the Old Town area are connected to the canal and the authorities concerned have not taken up de-silting of the canal since decades, informed Md. Rasool, another senior citizen, to The Hindu.

The drains were even connected earlier, but regular de-silting work was taken up either by the then municipal authorities or at times by the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, said Mr. Alikhan.

Reminiscing the good old days by the canal, Mr. Alikhan said, “During high tide the canal would be in robust shape and we would go for swimming. A wooden bridge existed connecting both the sides, and on weekends many of the residents of Kotaveedhi and Soldierpet would perch on its railings and take up fishing. But that was way back in 1960s.”

The deterioration started from late 1970s when a fishing jetty was built. Oil spill from the boats, clubbed with unchecked flow of sewage and lack of de-silting, turned the once flowing canal into a stinking drain.

“Even the colour of the water has changed from sea green to black,” lamented Mr. Alikhan.

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