Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph has said that the development of the 590-km waterway from Kovalam to Neeleswaram is being given priority by the State government.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Club here on Saturday, he said the government had represented to the Central government to develop waterway stretches from Kovalam to Kollam and from Kottappuram to Neeleswaram as national waterway.

At present, the Kollam-Kottappuram stretch had been declared National Waterway, he added.

He said the waterway in the State would give a fillip to tourism if it was developed as national waterway. It would also bring progressive changes in cargo transport in the State, he hoped. The State would extend its full support if the Central government decided to develop the remaining stretches as national waterways, he added.

Referring to irrigation projects in the State, the Minister said that steps were under way to complete all the existing major and minor irrigation projects in a time bound manner.

He said that measures had been taken to replace corroded shutters of the Pazhassi irrigation project reservoir here, which was the major source of drinking water supply in the district. Constant power disruption and voltage fluctuation in the area being a major problem affecting pumping of water from the treatment plant near the reservoir, a 33 Kv substation estimated at Rs.8.5 crore would be constructed near the site, he said.

The Minister said the Kannur water supply scheme he would inaugurate here in the evening would be a solution to the problems in water supply from the Pazhassi reservoir. The Rs.67-crore project with the capacity to distribute 36 mld (million litres/day) water would benefit 2,73,000 people in Kannur municipality and seven adjoining panchayats.

Ongoing drinking water projects such as the Japanese-aided Pattuvam project, estimated at Rs.317 crore, Anjarakkandy water supply scheme, and the Thalassery water supply scheme would be completed in time, he said.

The Pattuvam project was being developed in four packages, he said adding that over 90 per cent works were completed in first and second packages. There was some delay in distribution because some works had to be re-tendered, he noted.

Informing that the project envisaged laying of pipeline for 623 km, he said the pipeline had already been laid for 355 km. The project was expected to be partially commissioned in March next year, he added.

The Rs.159-crore Anjarakkandy project with a capacity to supply 50 mld would be commissioned in December, Mr. Joseph said. The project would benefit people in 10 panchayats.

He also said that works for the Thalassery water supply scheme under the Special Assistance Against Recession in Kerala (SAARK) would be awarded soon. The project would also be completed in 18 months, he added.

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