Andhakarathodu to be made navigable for small boats

In for makeover: GI fencing being done along Andhakarathodu to prevent dumping of waste into it .   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Work on cleaning and restoring the 2.17-km-long Andhakarathodu in Thripunithura has picked up pace and could be complete by March, making the canal navigable for small boats and creating a walkway along the sides.

A ₹10-crore project funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) to clean and desilt the canal, replace the existing footbridge and skew bridge for vehicular movement, and create a well-lit walkway along the entire stretch of the waterbody is under way after having missed several deadlines including one in February 2020 and another in January this year, said an official associated with the project.

The man-made water body connects the Champakkara canal and the Konothupuzha river and is said to have been navigable decades ago when goods were brought to the Thripunithura market via the waterway, said an official of the Minor Irrigation Department which has been supervising the project.

A small boat jetty has now been constructed on the end of the Andhakarathodu that links it to the Champakkara canal, creating a waterway. While another jetty was proposed at the other end of the canal where it meets the Konothupuzha river.

The river would have to be cleaned before a jetty can be built, the official said. The Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation (KIIDC) is the special purpose vehicle for implementing the project.

An official with KIIDC said that work on the main components of the project was progressing.

Another round of cleaning is to be done since water hyacinth has made a comeback despite an initial clean-up, he said. Construction of a walkway, around 3-m wide, and setting up street lights and benches along the path are also yet to be complete. Fencing and piling work along the sides of the canal has been done along some stretches. Fencing is expected to reduce the dumping of waste into the canal.

The Minor Irrigation Department official added that structural work on the footbridge and skew bridge were complete. Small boats would be able to make their way through the canal under the two bridges, he said. Around 300 truckloads of plastic waste had been cleared from the canal, he said, adding that the Thripunithura Municipality would have to ensure that waste from the market would not end up in the canal.

Sections of the canal remain buried under a layer of hyacinth with an overgrowth of weeds in some places.

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and containment zone restrictions had delayed work, he said. Besides, work on the canal cannot be undertaken during the monsoon, he added.

A detailed project report for the project was prepared in 2017 and the work had begun in 2018, after the floods, but getting clearances for the project and then the pandemic, had delayed it, the KIIDC official said.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 11:51:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/andhakarathodu-to-be-made-navigable-for-small-boats/article33652102.ece

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