THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Valiakulam canal in Thaliyal seeks redemption. Swamped with waste polluting the surrounding areas, the canal is a constant source of distress to the residents nearby. Despite an order from the Kerala State Human Rights Commission in March to speed up the tender process to clean and do maintenance works of the canal, no step has been taken yet.
With the onset of monsoon, water from the dirt-filled canal now enters the nearby houses. S Kuppuswamy, a resident who petitioned about the issue to the Human Rights Commission said: “Every time it rains we live in worry. Water enters our house from the back. The canal starts here and is located in a lower region. Once it rains, all the water starts overflowing as the flow to Killi river is obstructed by the waste dumped here. This is a major cause of disease and is giving distress to the relatives. When Peppara dam is opened, the water from Killi flows into the canal and further worsens the situation.”
The canal which is under minor irrigation department was subject to many estimates since 2016. However, none of them became fruitful. The minor irrigation department had informed the commission about the tender proceedings for cleaning work with estimated budget of 11.6 lakh and was in the priority list. It was also said the project has the financial and administrative sanction.
The commission had, in their order, asked the executive engineer of minor irrigation department to speed up the procedure and clean the canal.“We had a team of irrigation officers visiting some six months ago. We are yet to hear back from them. It has almost been 35 years since the canal was subjected to any sort of cleaning or maintenance work. Even the current estimated budget won’t be sufficient to complete the project. The project itself seems to be an eyewash to us residents,” he said.