If the Revenue and Inland Navigation Departments work according to their assurance, the once dropped Kollam Canal development project will be revived in three months. The Inland Navigation Department gave a new proposal in this regard to the Chief Engineer of Irrigation two months ago and it got administrative sanction.
“We dropped the project six months after it began in 2010 due to resistance from families living on the banks of the canal. The district administration now found a solution and we hope the families would be rehabilitated soon,” said Sunil S, assistant executive engineer, Inland Navigation Sub-Division Office, here.
“We sent a proposal for Rs 10 crore to the Chief Engineer of Irrigation and hope to start the work in three months. Now we need only technical sanction and tender will be invited soon after getting the sanction,” Sunil said.
The 7.7-kilometre Kollam Canal is part of the much-publicised Kollam-Kovalam State Waterway Project and once finished it would be a key to development in tourism sector. This project was delayed owing to the apathy of the officials concerned in rehabilitating the families living on the canal banks.
As many as 1,728 people used to live on the banks and all of them were rehabilitated except 80 families living in Thamarakkulam. The delay in rehabilitating these 80 families was the key issue pointed out by the officials as an obstacle for the project.District Collector B Mohanan assured to rehabilitate these families without further delay and fund for this was also sanctioned.
“People were not happy with the earlier rehabilitation package, so we introduced a new package. Without much delay we will implement it,” the Collector said.
The flats acquired for tsunami rehabilitation package and Rs 2 lakh were included in the new package and it was acceptable to the residents. P K Gurudasan MLA, expressed concern over the delay in implementing the new rehabilitation package. “It has been one year since the new rehabilitation package was introduced but nothing has been done so far. I fear political pressure might ruin this package and the renovation of Kollam Canal would remain a distant dream,” he said.