Civic body’s intervention follows a spate of reports on encroachments stifling Edappally canal
The Kochi Corporation will soon issue show-cause notices to the LuLu shopping mall, workshops, garbage yards and other establishments which have allegedly encroached upon the water body or whose boundaries hamper free flow of water in the Edappally canal, the chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee K.J. Sohan has said.
This was aimed at ensuring the mandatory width for making the Edappally canal navigable, Mr. Sohan said. The corporation decided to intervene in the issue, though belatedly, following a spate of media reports on encroachers stifling the water body.
Sources in the water transport sector said the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) had in March 2012 mentioned 13 encroachments into the canal that was once used to ship people and materials.
The encroachments include a 540-metre-long compound wall built alongside the canal. The other violations range from a 30-metre-long compound wall to 100-m-long parking sheds. These were listed in a study titled ‘Action plan on development of the Edappally canal’.
On allegations that a mall’s compound wall is hampering free flow of water, sources said that there was a condition in the no-objection certificate issued by the Kochi Corporation to the property that the compound wall has to be at a straight line from the bridge along NH 47 at Edappally Junction.
“It was also asked to demolish the portions of the wall that protrude into the canal. The operators were also asked to clean up the slush and construction debris from the water body. As for bridges built over the canal in violation of the minimum height (4.50 metre) rule, it is up to the Irrigation Department to initiate action,” said a corporator. Officials associated with Kochi metro rail said making the canal navigable at the earliest is crucial to ensuring integration of different modes of transport.
“This is among the criteria set by Japanese and French financial agencies to provide loans for the metro. Big boats can ply in either direction only if the canal is 15-metre wide.”
Currently, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has identified Edappally and Vyttila as the two hubs for integrating the metro rail with water transport.
The clearance of the Edappally waterway for enabling waterborne traffic is one of the secondary objectives of the KMRL as part of the action for making this canal navigable.
The district revenue authorities have been asked to conduct a resurvey along the length of the canal in this regard, said a press release issued by the agency.
Compound wall issue
On whether LuLu mall’s compound wall would have to be demolished for the ‘landing’ from the Edappally metro station, sources said the station has been relocated just next to the bridge on NH, with landings on vacant spots on either side. This prevents the need to demolish the wall.
Meanwhile, members of Mankuzhi Nagar Residents’ Association, who reside just behind LuLu mall, have objected to the increase in encroachments and the discharge of effluents into the canal.
“Oftentimes, people complain of severe head ache due to the nauseating stench. The issue was also taken up with the mall’s management since it is affecting people’s health in a major way,” said M.B. Prakash, former councillor of Kalamassery municipality. The issue has also been taken up with the District Administration, the State Human Rights Commission and the Pollution Control Board.