Pedestrians, motorists, residents, and traders had a harrowing time since MG Road and its side roads, including stretches that lead to the Ernakulam Junction railway station, remained inundated since Tuesday morning following rainy weather.
They had to put up with knee-high dirty water from overflowing drains and canals till late in the afternoon, even as dengue cases were being reported in increasing numbers in the district.
Traders, under the banner of ‘Save M G Road’ campaign, said they were running out of patience since dirty water was frequently entering low-lying shops during recent years when it rained. The campaign’s Facebook page had photos of the water ingress, along with a caption ‘MG River in Ernakulam, it’s time to bring the boats’.
Enraged at the extent of the waterlogging in the city hub, the president of Ernakulam District Residents Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC), Rangadaa Prabhu pointedly blamed the Kochi Corporation for the ‘mess’ that MG Road, roads on either side, and innumerable residential areas become whenever it rained.
“This is proof that the corporation failed to carry out pre-monsoon cleaning before May 15. None in the civic agency seems to be bothered about the plight of thousands of tax payers affected by the waterlogging. Most of them are busy campaigning for the Thrikkakara bypoll and have little time to redress grievances of the common man, despite the threat of contagious, waterborne diseases. The situation is such that the Thevara-Perandoor and other canals overflow into roads, houses and shops even during moderate rainfall,” he said.
Waste water management
This keeps people guessing what would happen once the monsoons begin. The corporation’s assurance that it would introduce robotic cleaning of drains remains on paper. The city urgently needs a waste water management system alongside steps to harness rainwater, Mr. Prabhu demanded.
The Ernakulam Vikasana Samity too has taken strong objection to the ‘rudderless’ ways of the corporation in averting the worsening waterlogging in the city. “The civic agency prefers to remain a mute witness, even as drains are getting choked due to hotels and other eateries dumping waste and leftover food into them,” said K.S. Dileep Kumar, its president.
The Chairperson of the corporation’s standing committee on Public Works Sunita Dixon said agreements were inked with contractors to declog drains and desilt canals early this year, well ahead of schedule. “But they failed to act. Only a few canals were cleaned of water hyacinth. That the stakeholders concerned failed to clear encroachments into drains and canals, has made matters worse. There was little follow up action on works done under Operation Breakthrough,” she said and added that her official vehicle was taken away for bypoll campaign work.
A senior official who was associated with declogging drain and canals said water logging can be prevented only if encroachments are removed and canals and select drains are widened. They must exit into the backwaters off Marine Drive, instead of into the Thevara-Perandoor Canal. Officials are helpless sans a political decision to remove encroachments, he said.