Kochi

Chellanam can now breathe easy as canal desilting begins

Geotextile bags filled with sand placed along the Chellanam coast to protect it from waves.

Geotextile bags filled with sand placed along the Chellanam coast to protect it from waves.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

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Project aimed to address waterlogging

Residents of Chellanam can now breathe easy, with the Irrigation Department launching the desilting of major canals in the panchayat as a first step towards addressing severe waterlogging caused by sea incursions and heavy rain.

Desilting of canals has been a long-pending demand from residents of the coastal village. Once the major canals are cleared and deepened, excess water will drain off much faster without causing serious flooding. More than 30 houses close to the coast at Companyppady, Maruvakkad, Velankanni, Saudi, and Kannamaly constantly face the threat of flooding.

The heavy rain on October 21 had flooded the houses disrupting normal life, and residents were not able to use even kitchens. For the record, State Minorities Commission Chairman P.K. Haneefa had visited Chellanam as well as other coastal areas and called for immediate steps to desilt and deepen canals.

Panchayat vice president K.D. Prasad said on Sunday that work on Vijayan Canal (Puthenthode) had commenced without hitches. Around 2 km of the 10.5-km-long waterbody has been cleared so far, and work is progressing at a steady pace, he added.

Vijayan Canal, extending from South Chellanam to St. Rita’s at Kandakkadavu, is a major stormwater carrier, which had not been cleared for several years now, said Jinson Veluthamannungal, a resident of Chellanam and an active member of a group calling for relief measures for coastal residents.

He added that since Cyclone Ockhi hit the shores of the village in December 2017, flooding has been a constant problem. Long stretches of seawall built with granite had collapsed in the impact of high waves hitting the shores.

Though geotextile tubes filled with sea sand had been laid along the Velankanni stretch of the coast, such barriers have not proved effective.

The commission had called for the constitution of a panel of experts to study the phenomenon of coastal erosion and suggest lasting solutions to the problem.

Meanwhile, sources in the Irrigation Department said Vijayan canal and Upputhinkadu canal would be dredged and deepened. Work on Vijayan canal is expected to be completed in four months, while that on the other is yet to be awarded.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 6:36:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/chellanam-can-now-breathe-easy-as-canal-desilting-begins/article29939728.ece

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