11.4-km stretch from Elathur to Kallayi to be de-silted

The government has sanctioned Rs.2.41 crore to de-silt and deepen the Canoly canal.

The de-silting of the 11.4-km stretch of the canal from Elathur to Kallayi is part of a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-assisted project to revive the inland waterway.

The project, estimated at Rs.4.6 crore, has been approved by the Shipping and Navigation Department. It includes the strengthening of sidewalls to protect against encroachment.

The then District Collector K.V. Mohan Kumar, in August last year, had announced the commencement of the work by October 2012. He had warned of stringent action against establishments that discharged waste water into the canal. Hospitals and other institutions would be allowed to release only treated water, the district administration had announced. But nothing seems to have changed.

“A revised tender was accepted by the tender committee. So far, Rs.2.41 crore has been released. The rest of the Rs.2.19 crore will be released as the work progresses,” C.A. Latha, the current District Collector, said on Wednesday.

The man-made canal, named after Malabar Collector R. Canoly of the erstwhile British regime, is also known as the Elathur Kallayi canal. It was constructed during the tenure of Canoly in 1848 and used as a major waterway, shipping goods and ferrying passengers, in the district till the late 1950s.

It connects the Kallayi river estuary to Eranhikkal, linking the Korapuzha estuary in the north. It is also instrumental in clearing stormwater during the monsoon from the low-lying areas in the city, and an effective guard against flooding.

But degradation owing to non-protection of banks, indiscriminate encroachments, dumping of solid waste, and polluted water has left the canal an eyesore.

Among the works mooted by the government are the construction of a seven-km paved footpath from Arayidathupalam to the Kallayi river mouth, tiled walk space, and seating arrangements along the canal banks and gardens.

The district administration had said that the second stage of the canal revival project would be to increase the depth from the Kallayi river mouth to Kaduppini bridge for a distance of 4.4 km. In this stretch, the river would be dug up to an average depth of 1.5 metres and expanded to a width of 50 metres. Mr. Mohan Kumar had earlier told The Hindu that “ideally, we want the canal de-silting and deepening work and the Kallayi river mouth deepening to happen simultaneously. Otherwise, water flowing from the canal to the river mouth will become stagnant,” he said.

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