31-km route declared obstruction-free six years ago

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IAWI) had declared the Kollam district course for National Waterway-111 (under construction) obstruction-free six years ago by paying compensation and removing almost 50 Chinese fishing nets. But many of these nets have now reappeared, especially along the canal course of the NW-111 in Azheekkal.

A formal declaration that the course of the NW-111 through Kollam district was obstruction free was submitted to the Fisheries Department on April 12, 2007 following an inspection of the 31-km course from Azheekal on the northern end of the district to Asramam in the city by an IWAI expert team. The inspection was carried out on a specially equipped IWAI survey vessel along with officers of the Fisheries Department.

Compensation paid

The nets were removed after paying a compensation of Rs.7,000 per net as dismantling charges. The amount was disbursed through the Fisheries Department.

The nets were the main obstruction along the canal course of the route earmarked for the NW-111.

But the cropping up of Chinese nets again along the course would impede the formal commissioning of the NW-111 through Kollam district, sources said.

The fairway of the NW-111 needs a minimum width of 40 metres along the canal portion and 60 metres on the lake portion of the course.

At many points, the stake nets and Chinese nets created obstacles for achieving the stipulated fairway specifications. It was on account of this that such nets were cleared by even paying compensation.

The 205 km NW-111 which connects five districts — Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Kollam — has nine terminals — Kottapuram, Aluva, Wellington Island, Maradu, Vaikkom, Alappuzha Thanneermukkom, Kayamkulam and Kollam. On formal commissioning, it will enjoy the position of being the first National Waterway in the country having 24 hours navigation facilities in the entire stretch.

The NW-111 also has access to four estuaries — Munambam, Kochi, Kayamkulam (Azheekal) and Neendakara.

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