Controversial Padmasarovaram project key poll plank in Elamkulam

LDF candidate Poornima Narayan  

The contest in Elamkulam, division 54 of the Kochi Corporation, is likely to be closely fought between two councillors contesting for a second consecutive term — LDF candidate Poornima Narayan and the UDF’s Antony Painuthara.

Ms. Narayan, who represented Gandhinagar in the outgoing council, was the chairperson of the Standing Committee for Education and Sports. “Housing projects like the LIFE Mission have hardly been implemented in the division,” she said.

In the last five years, the division, represented by Mayor Soumini Jain, had seen some development since funds were sufficiently allotted, Mr. Painuthara said. He had represented Panampilly Nagar in the outgoing council.

UDF nominee Antony Painuthara

UDF nominee Antony Painuthara  

The UDF had lost the Elamkulam seat for several years till 2015, when Ms. Jain contested here and won, Mr. Painuthara said. “Candidates of other UDF partners don’t fare well in Elamkulam. The division had been allotted to Kerala Congress (Jacob) earlier. But if the candidate is contesting on the Congress symbol, we should be able to win, as demonstrated last time,” he said.

The civic administration’s controversial Padmasarovaram project has been finding a mention in the poll campaign in the area.

A temporary bund was constructed in the Chilavannoor Lake to implement the Padmasarovaram walkway and cycle track project under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.

“The Padmasarovaram project inundated homes of residents in the area. It is definitely on the minds of people here,” Ms. Narayan said.

Independent candidate Cheshire Tarzan

Independent candidate Cheshire Tarzan  

Cheshire Tarzan, an activist who had filed a petition against the project with the Vigilance Court and a complaint with the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority, is contesting as an Independent candidate from the division. “No progress has been made in resolving waterlogging issues here or removing encroachments. The construction of the bund has aggravated waterlogging in the area,” he said.

Fronts slammed

Nipun Cherian, V4 Kochi’s campaign controller, said that in the campaigns in the area, they had been referring to the Revenue Department report that the Padmasaravoram bund was responsible for waterlogging in October 2019. “None of the LDF councillors opposed it when the project was proposed by the UDF, which means voting for the LDF is also a wasted vote,” he said.

The Padmasarovaram project was not on residents’ minds in Elamkulam since the project site itself was a little away from the border of the division, Mr. Painuthara, said. “It is not a subject of discussion since people are neither aware of it nor bothered about it,” he said.

BJP candidate K.R. Venugopal

BJP candidate K.R. Venugopal  

Thankam Velayudhan, a resident of the Kudumbi Colony in Elamkulam, does not agree.

High tide combined with rain often brings water to their doorsteps, and contaminates water in the underground tank, she says. “The first time the area flooded was in October 2019. When it comes to waterlogging, the role of the bund in the Chilavannoor Lake cannot be ruled out,” she said.

The BJP candidate contesting from Elamkulam is K. R. Venugopal.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 4:48:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/controversial-padmasarovaram-project-key-poll-plank-in-elamkulam/article33172783.ece

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