It started off as a simple, single step, but is fast capturing the attention of many. The Riverside Residents Forum, a group of residents along the stretch of Kaniyampuzha between Arakkakadavu and Chungam, got together and decided to clean up the river.

“This is a good initiative and will be promoted at the apex level. All member associations will be informed about this as the message will be issued as a circular,” said A. Ajith Kumar, general secretary of the Ernakulam District Residents Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC).

The move has also found resonance among the Corporation authorities. “This could possibly be the only effective way to ensure that our canals and rivers remain clean. Local participation is a must for success of any drive, without which they might end up as the drive to clear up Manthra Canal, one of the arterial canals in West Kochi. The dumping of plastic and other garbage resumed immediately after it was cleaned up using dredger,” said K. J. Sohan, chairman of the Town Planning Committee of the Corporation.

He referred to the step taken by the corporation when K. K. Somasundara Panicker was the Mayor to allot funds for similar initiatives to ensure participation of local public. A beneficiary forum was formed and successfully operated at Ravipuram for works like canal cleaning then. “This could be extended to works like laying of roads and cleaning up canals, where the Corporation can release half the cost and the other half could be met by the beneficiaries,” he said. Without waiting for the official support, the forum has already started the drive. Members who are free on a holiday or weekend will take out the country boat and clear the water hyacinth and clear the wild foliage along the banks. In the long run, the forum is planning to plant flowering trees along the banks as part of the beautification drive.

Time for cultural show

The cultural festival of the Thammanam-Ponnnurunni region of the EDRAAC will start at the open grounds at Dhanya Junction in Ponnurunni-Chalikkavattom Road on Friday. Benny Behnan, MLA, will inaugurate the festival. District Collector P. I. Sheikh Pareeth will be the chief guest.

Renowned literary critic M.K. Sanoo will inaugurate the cultural seminar on the subject ‘Nammal Onnu’ (We are One) on October 10. Minister for Excise, Fisheries and Ports K. Babu will inaugurate the valedictory session on October 11 and P. Rajeev, MP, will deliver the keynote address. The festival will end with a cultural procession.

Toll collection woes

The Public Works Department has started collecting toll along the Tripunithura mini-bypass from October 1. Right now, the department is collecting it and is planning to engage a contractor after six months for the same. However, it has been found that the toll collection is not efficient and many vehicles are allowed to pass without paying the toll. It has given rise to a suspicion that attempt is being made to show that collection is low and thus keep the toll collection go on indefinitely. To counter this, the Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents Associations (Trura) is planning to do a survey on the number of vehicles using the bypass and present the department with actual figures.

-- V. P. Prasad,