The Hindu looks at the many facets of life in Kozhikode and the myriad challenges before the port city in a week-long series.

Cities today face unprecedented challenges. Kozhikode is no different as it is yet to address massive issues in sanitation and storm water management.

Currently, the city does not have a proper sewerage network or drainage system. There is no organised and scientific method for disposing of sewage. Sewage disposal is done with the help of septic tanks. However, these become unserviceable during the rainy season since a major portion of the urban area has a high water table.

In some places, waste water from kitchens and bathrooms are also let out into the open, particularly in the coastal parts. The western parts of the city have limited drainage facilities, and the effluents stagnate around households.

The scenario is equally worse in the case of drainage network in the city. Flooding is experienced not only in the heart of city but also on the outskirts. At present, waste water flows into the Cannoly Canal and Arabian Sea from some of the drains. Poor maintenance of drains results in water logging in the low-lying areas, including the busy Mavoor Road.

The drainage of storm and surface water has been a major problem for those residing on the western side of National Highway No.17. The city slopes towards the Kallayi river, the Arabian Sea, and the Cannoly Canal. But swampy areas on the eastern side also get submerged in the rainy season.

Civic authorities say that surface water drainage is through a number of natural drains such as those on the western side of the ridge draining into the sea and those on eastern side into the Cannoly Canal. The feeder channels are rendered unserviceable for various reasons such as lack of adequate and timely maintenance.

Water logging during the monsoon has been attributed to unscientific plot subdivision, lack of control on building activities, and poor maintenance of roadside drains.

However, all hope is not lost as the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP), financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is implementing two components for sewerage and drainage systems. Some of these schemes were envisaged in 2010. A few of them have taken off while others have been put on hold in the wake of opposition from local people.

K. Bhaskaran, project manager, KSUDP, says that the new sewerage and sanitation project includes rehabilitation and extension of the sewerage in the north and the central areas and construction of a sewage treatment plant, with a capacity of 13.5 million litres a day, at Karimbanapalam.

The sewerage lines will be constructed in four phases depending on the landscape. The project has been considered taking into account aspects such as the Arabian Sea in the west; the Cannoly Canal in the east; the Kallayi river in the south; and the Corporation boundary in the north. The total cost of the project has been estimated at Rs.100 crore, he says.

Proposals have been worked out to construct lifting stations at Edakkad, P.M. Kutty Road, Eranhipalam, Muriyad, and Stadium Junction and two pumping stations at Kalluthankadavu and near the Sales Tax office. State-of-the-art technology would be used for constructing the sewage treatment plant. Operation and maintenance for the first five years would be done by the contractor. Subsequently, a government-appointed committee would monitor the functioning of the plant, Mr. Bhaskaran said.

He says that the drainage component will be done in two phases. The first phase will be the improvement of the secondary drains and inlets to the Elathur-Kallayi canal. Seventy five per cent of the work has been completed as of now. A sum of Rs.5.8 crore has been allocated for this. Most of these areas fall on the fringes of the city.

The second phase, estimated at Rs.10.5 crore, will be the construction of drainage outlets at areas such as Mavoor Road, Rajaji Road, Sreekanteswara Temple, and Stadium Junction, he said.

The Hindu looks at the many facets of life in Kozhikode and the myriad challenges before the port city in a week-long series.

More In: Kerala | National