KOCHI: The district administration has received a number of suggestions post the announcement of an enhanced ‘Operation Breakthrough’ to find a permanent solution to Kochi’s waterlogging issue. However, most of them are expensive and unfeasible in the city’s limited space. Instead, a single agency to address the issue permanently would do the trick, said Biju Prabhakar, the former Thiruvananthapuram district collector and one of the masterminds behind ‘Operation Anantha’, which unclogged the capital city a few years ago.
“Kochi’s case is a bit more complicated than the hilly terrain of Thiruvananthapuram. Three aspects make it tougher. First, there is little to no level difference between the backwaters in Marine Drive and the main city. Second, Kochi is compounded by high tide. Third, the water is constantly gushing from Western Ghats through Periyar river. It requires the involvement of multiple agencies and a systematic approach. All the canals and drains should be brought under a single agency like Smart City,” said Biju.
Silt accumulation also blocks most of our canals, he says. “In Operation Anantha, 1-foot deep silt traps were set up in major drains. This ensured silt was collected in the trap. It also minimised the cleaning required. This should be done in all drains in Kochi,” Biju said.
A downpour with high tide will mean there is no exit for water in Kochi, he said. “We need to close the entry of the Periyar water into the city at every point. Jet propulsion pumps should be used to push water out from city drains into the backwaters,” he said. He also recommended systematic mapping and positioning of cables and wires.
Disaster Management Act
Operation Anantha marked the first-ever use of Section 25 of the Disaster Management Act to clean up encroachments in India. It states: For an impending disaster, the district disaster management authority can take any measures.’