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Protest over drains spills on to road

Staff Reporter
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Stiff resistance:Residents of Chottanikkara protest against the opening of rain water drainsby the PWD. The drains are allegedly misusedby hotels to dispose of sewage.— Photo: H. Vibhu
Stiff resistance:Residents of Chottanikkara protest against the opening of rain water drainsby the PWD. The drains are allegedly misusedby hotels to dispose of sewage.— Photo: H. Vibhu

Residents on Thursday laid siege to a road, blocking machines brought in by the Public Works Department (PWD) to unclog drains at Chottanikkara.

The PWD was complying with a High Court order on a petition stating that blocked drains created water logging in Chottanikkara.

The drains were earlier blocked by the PWD on the instructions of the sub-collector when the Janakeeya Samithy and the Chottanikkara grama panchayat had complained that hotels and lodges in the area were allegedly pushing sewage into open drains.

About a hundred people led by the Janakeeya Samithy along with block panchayat president Rees Puthenveettil, grama panchayat standing committee chairman Johnson Thomas, panchayat members K. Kochaniyan, Shaobana Vijayan and Vishwanath Manoharan made it difficult for the PWD to carry out their work.

The Chottanikkara police arrested about 95 persons in this connection and later released them. The stand-off between the PWD and the locals lasted about four hours starting 10 a.m.

Hotel owners said no work was done to comply with the court order even after the police arrested and removed the protestors from the road.

The High Court had last week appointed an Advocate Commissioner to study the matter and report to the court on the issue.

The grama panchayat, the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Chottanikkara temple authorities had been at loggerheads over the issue since the last two years with the panchayat alleging that the hotels and lodges did not have waste treatment arrangements in place and were flowing sewage into the open drains.

The panchayat representatives said the drains on the roadsides should carry only rain water. The sewage had been polluting the water bodies in the panchayat as it flowed into paddy fields.

The hotel owners in Chottanikkara insist that they had complied with the court orders at that time to build their own treatment facility and to allow only treated water to flow into the drains.

The court had also asked the Devaswom authorities to construct a sewage treatment plant for the temple facilities.

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