Kozhikode

A canal built for transportation

The Elathur-Kallai canal, better known as Conolly Canal, was opened in 1848 under the orders of Henry Valentine Conolly, the then Collector of Malabar. It connects Korappuzha in the north and Kallai river in the south thus forming part of the line of water communication from Vadakara to Beypore.

The canal was used extensively for passenger and goods movement by small boats. Around 1870, damages to the banks resulted in flooding of salt water into the nearby agriculture fields. The British government washed its hands off the issue, stating that the canal was built for transport purposes and not irrigation. By 1924, Conolly Canal had over 772 country boats and 2,541 rafts plying through it. After the road transport system strengthened, the canal’s glory diminished though it continued to be used for fishing.

It was in the last two decades of the 20th century that the canal started turning into a waste dump. The advent of plastic as an important substance in day-to-day lives, as well as the various drains that opened into it, gushing out polluted water, escalated the downfall of the canal. During the past decade, it was a stinking mass of black water covered by water plants and plastic waste in most parts.

Many protests, hunger strikes, marches, seminars and discussions were held to clean it up. At least a dozen committees, environmental organisations and every new Collector in Kozhikode tried to lay their hand on canal development, none earning lasting results.

In the present, the canal has been included in the third phase of the National Waterway project to enable inland water transport in the State. The narrowness of the canal in some parts, however, calls for large-scale land acquisition, which has kindled much protests against the project.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 1:13:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/a-canal-built-for-transportation/article27131574.ece

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