Kochi

Thevara-Perandoor canal yet to be desilted

₹16-crore AMRUT project involves constructing retaining walls and fencing

Despite monsoon being around the corner, cleaning and desilting of the 10.58-km-long Thevara-Perandoor canal is yet to begin.

An existing project under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) meant that the canal was not included under the district administration’s Operation Breakthrough, said P.M. Harris, chairman, Kochi Corporation Standing Committee for Works. The nearly ₹16-crore AMRUT project involved desilting the entire length of the canal, constructing retaining walls and fencing.

Though the DPR was prepared in 2016, work had begun only in December 2018. Of the sanctioned amount, only work worth ₹6.8 crore had been taken up, according to AMRUT officials. Fencing has been completed along nearly 5 km. The canal had been cleaned and desilted once last year, but it had scummed over again and another round of cleaning was not within the project’s scope.

“Lack of efficient monitoring and issues with preparing the cost estimate had led to an inordinate delay in implementing the project,” said Poornima Narayan, councillor representing Gandhinagar. Areas around the Perandoor canal in her division like P &T colony, Udaya Colony and Kamattipadam are severely hit by waterlogging every year even with normal rainfall levels. With no redemption in sight, she anticipates another round of waterlogging this year.

With the responsibility now falling on the corporation to complete the work with its own funds, the civic body is still in the process of deciding whether the existing contractor should be assigned the work on a new project order, Mr. Harris said. “Once a decision is made on Monday, we hope to begin work by Tuesday and complete it in a week or two,” he said.

The canal which is nearly 20-m-wide in some places narrows to just over a metre near the railway tracks around the South Railway station, according to corporation officials. While this cannot be fixed in a hurry, the cleaning of existing railway culverts has been included under the second phase of Operation Breakthrough.

Crucial work

According to AMRUT officials, crucial work that could prevent waterlogging remains pending near the mouth of the canal at Thevara. It involves pile and slab work on the sides that would allow them to increase the depth and holding capacity of the canal, without the sides caving in.

The project proposal included identifying the boundary of the canal with the help of taluk surveyors, a process that began last year, but is yet to be completed. The boundary marked near the canal mouth at Thevara cuts through an adjoining road. With a case at the High Court over the condition of the canal and a high-level committee being formed to monitor its maintenance, corporation officials are awaiting clarification on whether the pile and slab work can be taken up while cutting into the road. If left unutilised, AMRUT funds would lapse in March next year, they said.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 7:34:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/thevara-perandoor-canal-yet-to-be-desilted/article31609256.ece

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