KERALA

Govt. asked to check encroachment of canals

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Oct. 28. The City Corporation Council today urged the Government to prevent the encroachment of drainage canals and reclamation of wetlands. An adjournment motion moved by the Anamukhom councillor, Kadakampally Mohanan, noted that large chunks of land on both the banks of the Amayizhanjan canal had been reclaimed, affecting the water flow and leading to flooding of low-lying areas.

Pointing out that long stretches of the canal were clogged by solid waste, Mr. Mohanan said the Water Resources Department officials had turned a deaf ear to the pleas to protect the canal, which drains out water to the sea through the outlet at Veli. He said the soaring real estate business in the Anamukham ward and the failure to evolve a monitoring mechanism had led to an increase in encroachments.

The motion urged the Government to carry out a canal survey and launch a dredging operation to remove the solid wastes dumped into it. It also called for constructing sidewalls to protect the canal. The motion was adopted unanimously.

Another adjournment motion moved by the Sasthamangalam councillor, S. Sreekumar, appealed to the Government to check the inflow of sewage into the Kochar canal which feeds the Padmatheertham pond in front of the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple. Mr. Sreekumar said the sewage main line running through the Kochar road had been broken at several places to let out water to the canal. He warned that this would lead to public health problems besides contaminating the Padmatheertham pond. The council adopted the motion.

Drive against encroachments: The Mayor, J. Chandra, told the council meeting that the drive against encroachments and unauthorised constructions would resume soon. Replying to a debate on the issue, she said the drive had been temporarily suspended following resistance from a section of councillors.

The Mayor said the Corporation would take steps to expedite legal action and fight cases relating to eviction. The assurance came in response to charges raised by councillors that the local body had failed to deal with court cases efficiently.

The UDF council party leader, K. Maheswaran Nair, accused civic officials of adopting a biased approach to the eviction of encroachments.

The Vazhuthacaud councillor, Narendran, brought the attention of the council to a roadside shrine erected in front of a lodge on land earmarked by the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority for road widening. The Mayor said she had been informed of the encroachment by the TRIDA chairman. She said steps would be taken to dismantle the shrine.

NSC not to be mandatory: The council decided not to insist on National Savings Certificates (NSC) for issue of building permits and completion certificates. Several councillors observed that applicants were forced to take NSC certificates, even for houses built for the economically-weaker sections. The Mayor said houses below 50 square metres would be spared from the requirement for taking NSC.

The meeting adopted a resolution urging the Government and the Kerala Water Authority to resolve the drinking water crisis in the Kesavadasapuram, Paruthipara and Pananvila areas. Moving the resolution, the Kesavadasapuram ward councillor, B. Satyan, said tap water supply was restricted to a few hours in the night in the affected areas.

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