Rs.7.5 crore spent between 1997 and 2010 to de-silt canal

Crores have been spent on cleaning the Canoly Canal since 1997, but the colonial-era waterway continues to be a stagnant grave for the city’s garbage.

District administration records show that Rs.7.5 crore was spent between 1997 and 2010 on various projects to de-silt the canal. Right now, a Rs.2.41-crore cleaning work is going on. So, if past records are of any significance, public money spent on the process has produced zero results till now.

Degradation owing to non-protection of banks, indiscriminate encroachment, dumping of solid waste, and polluted water has left the canal an eyesore. Warnings from the authorities of stringent action against establishments that discharge waste water into the canal has fallen on deaf ears over the years.

The present work 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 a total Rs.4.6 crore, has been approved by the Shipping and Navigation Department. It includes the strengthening of sidewalls to protect against encroachment.

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.

Among the other 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 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.

However, the very purpose for which the canal was built — inland waterway — continues to be a distant dream.

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