Pipe bursts in heart of city; taps run dry on Vishu eve

Staff Reporter
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Water supply to Kaloor, Elamakkara, Pachalam, Vaduthala, and Mulavukad to be affected until line is fixed

Big blow to festival plans:The hole that developed on the road at Kathrikadavu after a water pipeline burst on Saturday morning.— Photo: Vipin Chandran
Big blow to festival plans:The hole that developed on the road at Kathrikadavu after a water pipeline burst on Saturday morning.— Photo: Vipin Chandran

Water supply to parts of the city was disrupted from Saturday morning after a pipe burst in Kathrikadavu. Houses and roads nearby were flooded as water being pumped at high pressure flowed out of a hole in the road for almost two hours.

The pipe had been leaking since Monday and officials of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had made temporary repairs earlier in the week.

Local residents tried to cordon off the road around 8 a.m. as they saw the water coming out with more force. Around 8.45 a.m., the hole in the road widened and water started gushing out. A portion of the wall of the nearby St. Joachim’s High School caved in. The road was closed immediately and officials and workers of the KWA arrived on the spot to fix the rupture as soon as possible.

Supply to Kathrikadavu, parts of Kaloor, Elamakkara, Pachalam, Vaduthala and Mulavukad would be disrupted until the line is fixed, said KWA officials. Residents in these parts prepared for a dry Vishu by collecting water in large vessels while it was available.

KWA executive engineer Varghese M. Samuel, who was present on the spot, said they would work through the night to get the supply normalised by Sunday morning. “The faulty portion is being cut and a new piece of pipe will be put in. But the work is difficult as there are many phone cables criss-crossing the area,” he said.

Local residents blamed the KWA for inaction and said they had made several complaints to the authority over the last week. “We had taken note of the leak earlier. The pipe in this region has been developing leaks frequently,” said A.K. Ramani, Chief Engineer of KWA.

“We had arranged for someone to fix the leak. But they could not make it. That’s why the delay happened. We were planning to fix it immediately after Vishu,” she said.

Pipe bursts are frequent in this area and KWA officials do a patchwork every time it develops a leak.

The St. Francis Xavier Convent inside the compound of the nearby St. Joachim’s High School was the worst affected by the flood of water. Sr. Lissy of the convent said the KWA had been redirecting the leaking water into their compound all of last week since the leak developed.

“They told us they didn’t have enough staff as it was Vishu and asked us to adjust till the festival was over. They made a hole in our wall and let the water in so that it would not flood the road,” she said. The convent complained to KWA officials and the Mayor to get the leak fixed.

“Even when we called them today morning, they asked us to adjust till Vishu was over. The water was gushing out and they didn’t cut the supply for an hour and a half. If it had happened at night, someone may have even fallen into the hole on the road,” she said.

Mayor Tony Chammany said KWA’s inaction was behind the pipe burst. “My office had intimated the authority about the leak earlier in the week. The only solution in the long term is to replace the pipe,” he said.

Mr. Samuel said the 700 mm pre-stressed concrete pipe had been laid around 40 years ago and they were considering replacing it.

“It cannot be re-laid along the same line as the road is too narrow. The only option is to cut up a portion of the Kaloor-Kadavanthra road,” he said.

  • The pipe had been leaking since Monday

  • KWA inaction behind pipe burst: Mayor




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