THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the fourth time, the bund built on the banks of the Killi river breached near Maruthamkuzhy in the wee hours of Sunday, leaving hundreds of residents living at various colonies in lurch and a crisis.
The bund that was constructed two months ago after it was broken following incessant rain again breached owing to its fragile construction. Over 200 residences, starting from Secretariat Colony at Kanjirampara to Maruthamkuzhy, were equally affected and inundated. The residents had to opt again to stay on the first floors and were stranded there for almost a day.
The Irrigation Department was entrusted with the task of constructing a new bund two moths ago and it had only placed some sand-filled gunny bags to obstruct the flow of water as a temporary measure, instead of a concrete construction. However, stretched beyond all limits of tolerance, the enraged residents living near the banks of the Killi at Maruthamkuzy and Kanirampara will launch an agitation soon to rouse the authorities from deep slumber.
“Enough is enough! The apathy and lethargy shown by the authorities, be it City Corporation, district administration or government, is beyond our tolerance. We have no option left and we are not going to be mute spectators from now on. This is a perfect example of the inept attitude of the authorities. So, here the question is, ‘Who will bell the cat?’”, said Ashraf, a resident. The inundation on Sunday was heavy compared to the previous instances. The residents said that the rain at Nedumangad and other rural areas was cited as the reason for flooding here. “Whenever heavy rain lashes Nedumangad and other high range areas, the water-level in the Killi river rises and this leads to the breach of this bund. Unless this bund is constructed and strengthened with concrete, the water-logging problem will remain as such,” said Venganoor Prasad, Maruthmakuzhy Residents’ Association member.
The residents also urged the authorities to construct the bund using concrete immediately and to increase the depth of the river. The river becomes clogged with mud and bushes so that whenever the water-level rises, the water spreads to the banks of the river. Hence, the residents also demanded cleaning the river at the earliest.
Though a fund of Rs 25 lakh has been granted for the construction of a new bund and, in turn, mitigating the flooding, not even a single paisa has been invested or spent for the development here, sources said.
Sreedharan Nair, a resident, said that though the government had granted Rs 2 crore for constructing culverts in River Valley at Karithode and nearby areas after a high-level meeting held in the presence of elected representatives and residents’ association in May 2014, it didn’t materialise.
According to Irrigation officials, the floating of tender for the construction of the new bund was earlier scheduled on Monday and a tentative date was fixed on September 18 to open the tenders. The officials said that the District Collector had on Sunday decided to start the construction work of bund on Monday itself by cancelling the tender process. “We have received directives from district administration that a permanent construction of the bund should begin on Monday by cancelling the tender process. The fund for the same of Rs 25 lakh has already been sanctioned. The construction will be completed on time by invoking Disaster Management Act. The Collector also convened a discussion to grant Rs 2 crore for the permanent culvert system at River Valley at Karithode and nearby areas”, said Shibu, Assistant Engineer, Irrigation Department.
Meanwhile, sources said that the reason for the flooding are the unused pillars earlier built for the new Maruthamkuzhy bridge on the river which prove a hindrance for the free flow of water and a Kerala Water Authority pipeline also poses a block for the water flow opposite the Ganapathy temple at Maruthamkuzhy.
BJP local committee staged a protest at Maruthamkuzhy on Sunday noon blaming the left and right fronts for creating a nightmare for Maruthamkuzhy residents. “This is not the time to take political advantage. We are also concerned with the long-standing demand of the residents to build a culvert to check the water flow of the Killi river. This has been a major issue now plaguing the city like the flooding at Thampanoor. Many people who are the supporters of all political parties are at the receiving end. Hence, a permanent solution for this is the need of the hour,’’ said a BJP activist and resident.
K Muraleedharan MLA visited the spot and assured all residents that the works on the culvert would begin on Monday. “It is for the third time that I am visiting here after the flooding. Now, it’s time to act and I have give all directives to the officials concerned. No delay will be there and the works will be completed on time,” Muraleedharan told reporters. District Collector Biju Prabhakar had visited the spot earlier in the day.