Fate of 178 families living close to Konthuruthy Canal uncertain

In agony: Residents who live on the banks of Konthuruthy Canal protest against the move to evict them without ensuring a proper rehabilitation package.

In agony: Residents who live on the banks of Konthuruthy Canal protest against the move to evict them without ensuring a proper rehabilitation package.  

Corporation, district administration clueless about their rehabilitation

The Kochi Corporation and the district administration remain clueless about the rehabilitation of 178 families living on the banks of Konthuruthy Canal.

Sources at the district administration said that their houses were likely to be razed within 90 days. “Temporary arrangements will have to be made by the Corporation, while an apartment complex can be built for rehabilitated families,” they said. The district administration remains unsure about where the temporary arrangements would be made or the flat built, along with who would foot the expenses.

Of the 178 families, 42 with possession records for their land had been included in the list of beneficiaries under the LIFE mission’s housing scheme, a revenue official said.

“The possession record only allows the residents to live temporarily on poromboke land and seek electricity and water connections. Title deeds could later be issued based on possession records, but with this case going to court, it is unlikely that even those with the records can ever be given title deeds,” the official said.

The river was originally 650-m long and 48-m wide, the revenue official said.

“The canal, where it meets the Thevara-Perandoor canal near Konthuruthy, is only around three-metre wide now,” said Elizabeth Teacher, councillor representing Thevara. “A local resident had filed a petition in 2012 seeking the removal of encroachments and the restoration of the canal to its original width. But the Corporation has not taken the issue seriously,” she said.

Based on a High Court directive from November last year, the Corporation had submitted an action plan before the court, which involved maintaining a canal width of 16 m rather than 48 m, a move that could salvage a few houses.

The action plan also suggested tearing down a section of Konthuruthy Road that was built over the canal and constructing a bridge in its place to allow for the flow of water.

The Corporation was waiting for the court’s final order in the matter to take a decision, Mayor Soumini Jain said last week at the council meeting .

“The State government’s assistance would be required for rehabilitation since the Corporation does not have sufficient land and acquisition is expensive. The construction of a flat could be considered,” she said.

“A rehabilitation package is necessary before the families are evicted, since residents are wary of a Moolampilly-like situation where they might have to wait for years for a home,” said C.K. Peter, councillor from Konthuruthy.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 5:55:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fate-of-178-families-living-close-to-konthuruthy-canal-uncertain/article30824999.ece

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