Construction of ship dock, jetty will block water flow in canals, govt. tells HC

A study has pointed out that many parts of the canal system in West Kochi have failed to serve their intended purpose due to accumulation of silt and waste, says the affidavit. File photo  

The construction of a major ship dock near the Old Harbour Bridge on Willingdon Island and a jetty at Kalvathy canal mouth by the Coast Guard will obstruct the free flow of water through the canals in West Kochi, according to an affidavit filed by the State government in the Kerala High Court.

The affidavit added that the construction of the berth was “dangerous for the ships coming in as there is a good chance for accidents to occur” besides preventing the tidal flow into the canal system in West Kochi areas. The dock construction would also obstruct the free flow of low tide and high tide.

The government also pointed out that the ship dock would obstruct free flow of water from upper Kuttanad and Muvattpuzha river to Vembaland Lake. This would cause major flood in upstream areas such as Aroor, Maradu and Vypeen.

Waste dumping

The government said the waterlogging problem in West Kochi areas was mainly because of the poor water carrying capacity of Rameswaram, Kalvathy and Eraveli canals due to the dumping of waste and sewage into the canals and reduction of the canal width at many intermediate locations due to construction of roads and culverts. A study had pointed out that many parts of the canal system in West Kochi had failed to serve their intended purpose due to accumulation of silt and waste. The poor condition and the missing links in the canal network were causing overflow and flooding of the adjoining areas during rain. Besides, the canals had become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and sources of pollution. The affidavit pointed out that the tidal difference occurs approximately every eight hours — the water flow from the South-most Vembanad backwaters, and back. Since the Kalvathy canal is the first opening from the outer sea mouth, water gushes out first and gushes in every eight hours during the tidal difference. This was working fine earlier, keeping the water of the canals clean and navigable. But now, it was not possible due to blockade and missing lines in the canal system. There are approximately 80 bridges/culverts, big and small, in the main canal. Most of them were not cleared, thus blocking the flow of water during rainy seasons.

A challenge

The affidavit said the handling and disposal of residual sludge in the limited area available under the Cochin Smart Mission Limited’s (CSML) project of constructing vacuum sewer network and sewage treatment plant might pose a challenge. Suitable uninhabited locations for timely disposal of sludge have to be located, it said.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 10:35:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/construction-of-ship-dock-jetty-will-block-water-flow-in-canals-govt-tells-hc/article34219291.ece

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