Kochi Corpn. sets aside ₹3 lakh per ward for canal cleaning

Councillors say amount insufficient

Pre-monsoon cleaning of drains and canals within Kochi Corporation limits has begun with the local body setting aside ₹3 lakh for each of its 74 divisions to complete the work.

Some councillors, however, say that the amount is insufficient to complete the cleaning that could ensure the smooth flow of rainwater from stormwater drains into larger canals and eventually into the backwaters. Preethy K.H., councillor representing Tharebhagam in West Kochi, said that the amount would be insufficient to clean the Pallichal thodu in the area, where water had entered several houses in October last year. “The mouth of the Pallichal thodu is clogged with waste. Some stretches were cleaned using AMRUT funds last year, but waste and weeds have blocked sections again, including the mouth,” she said.

K.J. Prakashan, who represents Mundamveli, also said the amount was insufficient to complete cleaning the network of drains in his division. This year, cleaning had also been affected by shortage of labour, he said.

“The corporation lacks a drainage network map and the amount allotted is not based on an estimate of the length of the drains in each division,” said Poornima Narayan, councillor representing Gandhinagar.

Transporting refuse

Disposal of silt and waste removed from canals is another issue. A single round of cleaning and desilting of the 10.5-km-long Thevara-Perandoor canal last year had itself generated over 1.7 lakh metre cube of waste. But the contractor’s agreement did not include the expense of transporting the silt to faraway Brahmapuram in multiple trips, and work was delayed till private and government land nearby could be found to dump it.

“As per rules, agreements with contractors include only charges to transport waste up to 5 km from where it is picked up, an arrangement that is inconvenient for the city since its dumping yard lies farther away,” said P.M. Harris, chairman, Standing Committee for Works. In some cases, the contractors might themselves be able to find private plots where they can dump waste from smaller drains. In other cases, if left unmonitored, it could lie by the wayside with contractors unsure of finding space to dump it, Ms. Poornima said.

With large quantity of silt and waste likely to be generated from the cleaning of the Thevara-Perandoor canal this year as well, the Works Committee was considering a separate file to include the contractor’s charges to transport waste to Brahmapuram, Mr. Harris said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 9:41:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kochi-corpn-sets-aside-3-lakh-per-ward-for-canal-cleaning/article31607986.ece

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