KERALA

It will be smooth sailing from Kollam to Alappuzha soon

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Navigation through the National Waterway-III may soon become a reality with canal-widening work set to start in the 12-km stretch between Alappuzha and Kollam.

Land acquired

The stretch is the sole bottleneck in the 205-km NW-III connecting Kottappuram (near Kodungallur) and Kollam. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) had acquired 20 hectares of land in the stretch to carry out the widening work.

The Deputy Director of the IWAI, Neelakantan Unni said that work will start this year to widen the canal, so that it has a width of at least 32 metres. The minimum depth required is 2.2 metres. As of now, the waterway is operational from Kottappuram to Alappuzha, where the width is above 32 metres in most parts, he said.

"The State Government has to be proactive and help us in the widening work. It should also help us in clearing minor bottlenecks such as Chinese and stake fishing nets protruding into the waterway in some stretches. We have already taken up the issue with the Fisheries Department," Mr. Unni said.

Kochi, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Kollam are the main commercial centres covered by the IWT system in the NW-III.

Even existing waterways in NW-III and smaller canals are underutilised, with less than one per cent of the cargo traffic and an even lesser percentage of commuters in the State using them.

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