KERALA

Flood control work gaining momentum

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM MAY 29. Work on the flood-control project in Thampanoor and East Fort is gradually gaining momentum. Though the district administration said that it would complete much of the work before the southwest monsoon gains strength, it remains to be seen whether it would be able to do so.

Desilting of the Amayizhanjan Canal at Thampanoor and on the Power House road is progressing. A sum of Rs. 81 lakhs has been sanctioned for expediting the work in the wake of the monsoon. Each ward would get Rs.1 lakh each. The Mayor, J.Chandra, had summoned a meeting of the representatives of various departments to complete the work on a war-footing.

The Thiruvananthapuram East MLA, B. Vijayakumar, V. S. Sivakumar, MP, the District Collector, K. R. Jyothilal, and officials of various departments would review the progress of the work on Thursday. Mr. Jyothilal had directed the district administration officials to clear the drains and canals before the monsoon sets in.

Directions were also given to expedite the work on the city development projects which have got administrative sanction. The Irrigation Department was expected to complete the work on the Pazhavangadi canal before May 15. But that target has not yet been achieved.

Tenders have been floated for the work on the culvert near the Power House. The Railways have completed 70 per cent of the work. The rest would be completed soon. Once the flood control work begins in Pazhavangady, the KSEB and the BSNL too would start their work. Still it is not sure whether there would be a co-ordinated effort to complete the work.

Acute funds crunch was one of the main impediments for completing the project before the monsoon. Administrative sanction was accorded to the project, but there was a delay in allocating funds. There were complaints that none of the political parties was genuinely concerned about timely completion of the project.

The project estimate is Rs. 3 crores. Other than holding meetings at regular intervals to discuss the flood control project precious little has been done by the Government for containing the recurring floods. Mr. Vijaykumar said that work on the culvert would begin only after watching the intensity of the monsoon. He claimed that the rest of the work, including desilting, was progressing.

There are complaints that but for floating tenders, the Irrigation Department has not taken any concrete steps to start the work in full swing so far. The Railways have done everything possible to check the flooding, sources said. The flooding in the East Fort area is mainly due to the narrow road culvert at Pazhavangady which is further restricted by the large number of sewage.

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