Downpour-battered capital a pointer to days ahead

In deep waters: The waterlogged Chala bypass road in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday morning.

In deep waters: The waterlogged Chala bypass road in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday morning.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Defects in drainage system to the fore again as many areas get inundated

Steady downpour in the early hours of Friday inundated low-lying regions in the State capital, laying bare the defects in the storm water drainage system yet again, and offered a glimpse of what the city could face during the fast-approaching monsoon season.

Adding to the city’s woes, the Killi and Karamana rivers overflowed their banks in several places. Forced to raise five shutters of the Aruvikkara dam on Friday morning following in-flow, the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had warned people residing on the banks of the Karamana river to be careful.

Low-lying areas such as SS Kovil Road, Attakulangara, Melarannoor and Manikanteswaram road were inundated in the downpour. The Attakulangara-Killipalam bypass resembled a river in spate, with storm water overflowing the drains and flooding both lanes. Smaller roads leading off the bypass into the Chala market and residential colonies such as Yamuna Nagar remained waterlogged for hours.

Bid to unclog

“Water usually rises here during the rains, but not so much and not so fast as it did this time,” said Bhagavathi Shuppammal, 80, who sells earthen pots on Kothuval street. “This is a low-lying area and the drains get clogged during the rains,” she said.

By 10 a.m., Corporation staff were seen trying to unclog the drains here. storm water had deposited trash all along Kothuval street. “We had built a step inside the shop when the area got waterlogged before. So this time, water did not enter all the way. Still, the front portion was waterlogged when I came in at 5.30 a.m.,” said Vijayarangan of Saraswati Traders.

Anxious vigil

The situation was worse for neighbourhoods along the banks of the Karamana and the Killi rivers which overflowed their banks in many places.

On CS Road, Jagathy, residents were busy bailing out water from their homes. “Once the river is in spate, the canal passing along our neighbourhood overflows,” said Suma Anil Kumar, a resident.

Residents of Karakkad lane near Jagathy were seen anxiously watching the water level rise along the boundary walls of the river. “If the water overflows the wall, we are in trouble. Water has already entered a few houses along the bank,” a resident said.

Inadequacies of the drainage network were visible at Melarannoor too where the main road and compounds of houses lay under water. “Water started flowing in by 5 p.m. I got up at 3 p.m. to collect drinking water and it was dry then,” recalled Sivakumar, a resident.

Frequency goes up

“Heavy thunderstorms are normal for May. The frequency of such weather phenomena also goes up during this season,” K. Santhosh, Director, IMD Meteorological Centre, said.

By Friday noon, the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) issued a note pointing out that the flooding along the Killi river was unconnected to the raising of dam shutters at Aruvikkara. “This is due to heavy rain in the city area,” the KWA noted.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:12:25 AM |

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