HC seeks report on steps taken to avert flooding

The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Kochi Corporation and the head of the Operation Breakthrough team to file a report explaining the steps taken and also the proposed steps to avert flooding in the city.

Justice Devan Ramachandran issued the directive in view of the inundation of the city due to heavy rains on Thursday.

The court observed that the report should be comprehensive so that the court could issue effective orders to ensure that such events were, as far as practically possible, averted during the monsoon season.

The court took up the case relating to flooding in the city because of the large-scale flooding witnessed on Thursday. It observed that the seriousness of the issue was projected in the public domain in 2018 “when we witnessed the worst ever flooding in the city. On account of various orders passed by the High Court, which run into literally more than 20 or so, various steps were taken to mitigate the situation, which bore fruit in the years 2020 and 2021 when the city was spared of large-scale flooding.”

The court added that, in the meanwhile, flood mitigation steps under Operation Breakthrough had completed two of its phases, and the court, therefore, was under the impression that the system would operate effectively in the future too. The third phase of Operation Breakthrough was still in progress and, unfortunately, could not be completed due to various circumstances.

“No doubt, our State received heavy rainfall in the last one or two days and the resultant situation was distressing because, even though more or less temporary, many areas and roads went under water,” the court said.

S. Kannan, Senior Government Pleader, submitted that within an hour or so of the rains receding, water levels came down, which indicated that the canals had been maintained in good condition. In fact, it was for the Kochi Corporation to ensure that the canals, including Perandoor canal, were kept free of silt on a regular basis.

Janardhana Shenoy, Corporation counsel submitted that immediate and emergent steps had been taken to ensure that all drains, canals, and sewage systems were kept clean, and the civic body was ready for the onset of monsoon.

It was brought to the notice of the court by a lawyer that the situation was exacerbated because citizens did not show sufficient civic responsibility, and they continued to dump plastic and other waste into canals and sewage systems.

The court pointed out that as far as cleaning of canals and prevention of dumping of waste and plastic into them were cornered, the Secretary of the corporation was put on notice by the court that every necessary and effective measures shall be initiated on war footing. Those who violated the High Court’s directive against dumping of garbage into canals shall be taken to task.

The court reminded the corporation that steps like fencing of canals would be of no effect unless citizens realised that it was their duty to ensure that such facilities were well maintained and kept free of debris.

The court directed the corporation to give publicity through all methods on the need to maintain canals free of plastic waste and garbage.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2022 7:08:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/hc-seeks-report-on-steps-taken-to-avert-flooding/article65430740.ece