Kochi

KCZMA meet holds key to ₹1,528-crore canal regeneration project in Kochi

The Edappally canal. KIIFB will fund the project under which city canals will be cleaned, deepened and restored to their original width.

The Edappally canal. KIIFB will fund the project under which city canals will be cleaned, deepened and restored to their original width.

Monday’s meeting of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) will be decisive in kick-starting work on the ₹1,528-crore Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System (IURWTS) project that envisages the regeneration of six once-navigable canals which are now heavily encroached upon and filled with dirt.

The crucial approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change hinges on the Authority expressing satisfaction at clearances that Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has got for the project. Soon after, it is expected to recommend the project to the Ministry, the final authority to give the approval. The project has already suffered a delay of over a year, apparently due to pressure from celebrities and other influential persons, sources said.

The canals totalling 35 km that KMRL had shortlisted for developing include Edappally canal (11.23 km), Chilavannoor canal (11.15 km), Thevara-Perandoor canal (9.88 km), Thevara canal (1.41 km), Market canal (0.66 km), and Konthuruthy canal (0.67 km).

Among them, KMRL has prioritised Edappally and Market canals. The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) will fund the project under which the canals will be cleaned, deepened and restored to their original width.

A senior KCZMA official said the project was under the Authority’s active consideration. Monday’s meeting will take a call on the matter. “KMRL submitted a revised detailed project report (DPR), after a few of our members raised concerns about a couple of components. The decision will be posted on the public domain following the meeting,” he said.

The revised DPR, which was endorsed by Anna University, was submitted to the KCZMA on December 17, 2021. Without CRZ clearance/approval, the project cannot be implemented, KMRL sources said.

As per technical studies, Edappally canal can be made fully navigable, whereas the Market canal will be restored to its past glory when traders ferried cargo in boats to the Ernakulam market.

The canals will thus have robust embankments, flanked by well-lit walkways. For this, the metro agency conducted technical surveys, including Lidar survey, Bathymetric survey, water-quality studies, and geotechnical studies.

“We had also obtained all statutory clearances, including from the Pollution Control Board and the State Wetlands Authority, which were endorsed by the Kochi Corporation Council. They had been forwarded to the KCZMA in February 2021. We clarified various queries raised by the KCZMA from time to time. Since the KCZMA raised apprehensions related to the proposed canal lock gates for flood mitigation, KMRL dropped the idea of putting lock gates. This will be implemented only after multi-agency and multi-departmental studies. The approval of the Ministry of Environment and Forests holds the key to invite tenders,” the sources said.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 12:19:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kczma-meet-holds-key-to-1528-crore-canal-regeneration-project-in-kochi/article38276200.ece