Work on 4-km stretch of canal soon

The State government has given technical sanction for work on a four-km portion of the Vadakara-Mahe Canal, giving a fresh lease of life to a four-decade-old proposal to develop a canal on the stretch to form part of the existing link connecting rivers and backwaters in the region.

Dubbed as part of Vision Vadakara 2025, the canal will pass through Thiruvallur, Maniyoor, Villiyapilly, Purameri, and Ayancherry in the Kuttiyadi constituency; Edacherry in the Nadapuram constituency; and Eramala and Azhiyoor in the Vadakara constituency.

As per the Government Order (GO) issued by the Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation Department on September 29, sanction was recommended by a Technical Committee for an estimated cost of Rs. 21 crore. It was on the committee’s recommendation that the government slashed the estimated cost from an earlier Rs.23.25 crore, for which administrative sanction had already been granted in March. “The Technical Committee, which met on August 23, 2013, considered the estimate report submitted by Chief Engineer (Irrigation and Administration), Thiruvananthapuram, for an amount of Rs. 23.25 crore and found that the construction of 7 VCB proposed in the estimate was not necessary as a regulator would have to be constructed at the starting point of Vadakara-Mahe Canal, ie, Moozhikal. The Committee decided to delete the provision for construction of 7 VCB and recommended to grant Technical Sanction for an amount of Rs. 21 crore,” the GO said.

The Irrigation Department’s original estimate was Rs. 27 crore as per an earlier GO.

The 17.4-km proposed Mahe-Vadakara canal is viewed as a link to develop inland water transport in the State while offering a fuel-efficient and economically viable alternative to road transport. It will be connected to the existing navigational link called West Coast Canal stretching from the southern end of Thiruvananthapuram district up to Kasaragod district in the north.

The Natpac, in its techno-economic feasibility study, said 16.6 per cent of the total goods traffic by road could be diverted to the inland water transport system.

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