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Call to expedite pipeline work

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STALLED WORK: The pit at Vallakadavu junction, dug up by the Kerala Water Authority months ago, to extend the city's water supply network to the coastal areas. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar
STALLED WORK: The pit at Vallakadavu junction, dug up by the Kerala Water Authority months ago, to extend the city's water supply network to the coastal areas. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar

G. Mahadevan

Pit dug at Vallakkadvau junction posing threat to motorists

Thiruvananthapuram: A huge pit dug by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) near Vallakkadavu junction, to provide an interconnection facility for pipelines laid under the Theerapatham scheme, is proving to be a hazard for pedestrians and motorists.

The pit was dug on December 14 and close to midnight that day KWA officials stopped work on the site stating that some pieces of HDPE pipelines to be used there were missing. Angry local people demanded that the pipes, allegedly taken by a corporation councillor to facilitate flood-relief work, be recovered immediately.

Even though the police took the initiative in bringing back the pipes on December 15 itself, the KWA is yet to restart work at the site.

A police complaint filed by an Assistant Executive Engineer of the KWA who was present at the site on the night of December 14 has, in the meantime, complicated matters. The complaint states that local people had prevented him from carrying out his official duties on that day.

KWA's PH division Executive Engineer G. Sudev told The Hindu that local people had blocked a team of officials who had gone to the spot to resume work a few days after the December 14 incident. "They told us that we can resume work on the site only after the police complaint is withdrawn. I tried speaking to the official concerned. But he maintains that he was intimidated by local people that night and that he would not withdraw his complaint," he explained.

Mr. Sudev added that the work on the site at Vallakkadvu can be completed in a matter of hours. "All that we need to do now is to connect the valves," he added.

A. Saifuddin Haji the president of the local Jamath concil told The Hindu that the KWA officials had been treated with respect by local people that night. "We provided the electricity connection from their generators that day. After digging the road and just when they were about to begin work they announced that the pipes were missing. We asked them why they did not spot this earlier. However, at no point of time was the KWA team intimidated. When the police team arrived the Assistant Executive Engineer suddenly said he was feeling unwell. Circle Inspector (CI) Mohammed Bary asked him whether the local people or the policemen present did anything to him. The official said no and added that he had high blood pressure and that he had not slept for two days. He was taken to the hospital," Mr. Haji said.

A. Mianuddin who runs a bakery near the Vallakkadavu bridge denied that local people blocked KWA officials when they came to the site the second time. "One day the team came and after some time went back. Later we learnt that a youth had told the KWA officials to first get the complaint withdrawn. We understand that they left immediately after hearing this. There was no organised protest or anything that day. In fact we want the work to be over and the pit to be closed. But yes, we also want that the complaint be withdrawn as we know that it is totally false," he said.

The KWA now maintains that its officials would go back to the site only if their safety was guaranteed. "We are waiting for officials of the Theerapatham scheme to take the initiative in this matter," Mr. Sudev said.

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