KOCHI: When Kochi Metro Rail became operational, John, 75, started a homely meals restaurant in front of his house located near Metro yard at Muttom, Kalamassery, in 2017. However, in the past one year, he lost over `8 lakh, not due to business issues but owing to rain water that flooded his restaurant and house.
Over 100 families from Muttom, Choornikkara, Kunnatheri and Manakkapady residing near the Metro yard were shifted to relief camps after flood water entered their houses on Thursday.
Even after water in the Periyar receded on Monday, the roads in Muttom remained flooded. Earlier, rainwater from the area flowed out through marshy land and small streams nearby. The streams and marshy lands were filled to construct the yard for the Metro project. Now when it rains, the entire area becomes flooded. The Metro yard and maintenance shed were constructed after filling around 53 acres of land with the permission of the state government.
“Last year, we thought that flood occurred as shutters of Idukki dam were opened. But this time water was not released into the river from the dam. Still we had to face flooding similar to last year. This time flood water stood at waist level. We lost household equipment, electronic goods and utensils in the house. The restaurant was also flooded. We suffered a loss of over `8 lakh due to flood twice in the past one year,” John said.
Residents have decided to launch a mass protest demanding the authorities to find a permanent solution to the flooding. “We don’t want to celebrate Onam and Bakrid at relief camps every year. Earlier, water from the Periyar used to flood the area. But it never entered our houses. The streams through which rainwater flowed out of the locality have to be restored. Metro should build drainage to prevent flooding. We have already planned a mass agitation against the apathy of the authorities, including KMRL, in finding a permanent solution,” said Sherif Muhammad, a native of Kunnatheri.
Aluva MLA Anwar Sadath said he has taken up the matter with the government. “We raised the issue at a meeting chaired by Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar to take stock of flood impact in the district. We demanded that the KMRL should initiate action to prevent flooding in residential areas near its yard in Muttom. The minister promised that a meeting with KMRL will be called to address the matter. However, the date of the meeting is yet to be decided,” the MLA said.