Latest worry is over a leaking manhole behind staff quarters near IMCH

The sewage woes of Government Medical College, Kozhikode, seem to be unending.

A leaking manhole behind a staff quarters near the Institute of Maternal and Children’s Health (IMCH) is the latest in the list.

Foul smell spreads in the area when a loose lid covering one of the many manholes in the area, which is part of a pipeline track that carries hospital waste from the medical college, comes off. This is a problem that recurs, say people of the neighbourhood. The lid comes off quite often and sewage water floods the compound.

The issue has kicked up a row of protests from political parties as well as local people.

But authorities have done nothing to solve the problem other than fixing up the lid as and when they receive complaints.

This time, the problem grew out of hand when the compound wall could not hold the water seepage and allowed the water to flood the road adjacent to it.

When protests grew strong, authorities contained the leakage by closing the lid. The smell was arrested by sprinkling bleaching powder all around. But local people remain apprehensive of how long the remedy would last.

Vineesh, who lives in the neighbourhood, says the residents have drinking water issues due to the leakage in the pipeline.

Most of their wells are contaminated because of the problem. The pipeline, he says, is as old as the medical college, around 50 years. The repeated complaints regarding the pipeline have all fallen on deaf ears.

“Enormous funds are allotted for the medical college every year. It is only used to air condition the rooms of doctors. Look around the medical college and you will wonder where all this money has gone”, Babu, another resident of the area, says.

A permanent solution to the problem will be the proposed Sewage Treatment Plant, Dr. C. Ravindran, medical college principal, says.

“Once the plant is constructed, all the sewage pipelines will be diverted into it and the old pipelines will be dysfunctional. As of now, The Kerala Water Authority has been entrusted with the maintenance of the pipelines, but to no avail. They send huge bills, but no work is done. The KWA’s lackadaisical attitude has led to the clogging of the pipelines and thus bursting of the manhole lids”, he says.

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