Operation Anantha to go beyond flood mitigation

What began as an attempt to clean the clogged canals in the capital city to avoid flooding could slowly take up the shape of an all-round effort to spruce up the entire city, with Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson on Thursday saying that the ongoing eviction and demolition drive, titled ‘Operation Anantha,’ would go much beyond flood-mitigation measures.

The operation, which began last week, has seen encroachments in the Pazhavangady, East Fort, and Thampanoor stretches of crucial canals being cleared, with a side project to revive waterbodies and wetlands in the city to be launched shortly. A project to construct a rainwater harvesting pit and a pond at the Manjalikulam grounds is already gathering steam, with Mr. Thomson stating that the public would be taken into confidence before its launch.

A pond at Putharikandam and a water reservoir or rainwater harvesting pit or similar initiative at Ponnara Park were among proposals that were being thought about, he said. The issue of waste management too would be taken up once the flood-mitigation part of the operation was over, he added. A junkyard to dispose of rusting vehicles in police stations and other parts of the city, with a scrap management plan in place, too would follow.

Suchitwa Mission Executive Director K. Vasuki said as part of the waste management plan and a phased ban on plastic, attempts would be made to do away with plastic water bottles by installing drinking water kiosks across the city. The project would be ready in a couple of months, she said.

Another major component of ‘Operation Anantha’ would be the removal of hoardings, on which a Supreme Court order was already in force, the Chief Secretary said at a press conference here. The ongoing drive had, for the first time in the country, invoked the provisions of the Disaster Management Act for the purpose of flood mitigation, Mr. Thomson said, adding that the services of officials, including advisers, of the National Disaster Management Authority, would be utilised to keep the operation on track. Railways too had been convinced to clean the canal that passed underneath the tracks at Thampanoor, and to widen it or construct a new one once the rains was over, he said.

Mr. Thomson, who said he had received a few threat calls after the drive was launched, said encroachers, however, would not be spared. Officials who issued house numbers to illegal structures too would be taken to task, but once the flood-mitigation measures were in place.

Poet Sugathakumari, historian M.G. Sasibhooshan, and architect G. Shankar were also present.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 9:45:21 PM |

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