KOCHI: Introduced as a one-stop solution to the sewage menace of thickly populated areas of West Kochi, Cochin Smart Mission Limited’s (CSML) sewage treatment plant (STP) project has instilled high hopes in Kochiites.
However, the Rs 166-crore project to be set up at Fort Kochi is now on hold due to opposition from local residents.Citing issues of probable leaking, foul smell and others, the families have been protesting against the project.“It is an area that witnessed heavy waterlogging during monsoon over the years. Several families are living in close vicinity and many of them are expected to get their flats in the housing project coming up adjacent to the project site,” said Ajith V, a resident.
A few others fear leakage in future will be catastrophic to their families. “There are over 1,000 families in the entire area which are regularly affected by inundation. If the plant encounters a leakage in future, it will even lead to the spread of epidemics,” said Majeed K, another resident.
As per the proposal, the project was mooted to end the spread of water-borne diseases in the region and ensure cleanliness of households in the 2.70 sq. km area. According to CSML officials, the project is on hold following continuous protest from the residents.
“Following public agitation, we couldn’t start the work after awarding the tender. We have held different levels of meeting in the presence of public representatives on the matter. But none of them had resulted in desired way. Though we tried to find alternative locations by approaching agencies like Cochin Port Trust, suitable land isn’t available anywhere in the area,” said the official.
However, the officials are hopeful that they will be able to convince the residents about the prospects of the project. “The project has a huge potential. As West Kochi never had a scientific sewerage system, its canals and water bodies are severely affected by the effluent discharge. The plant will have an aerobic treatment system to prevent foul smell. We will also beautify the area and will build boundary walls for safety. We are hopeful that residents will understand the long-term benefits of the project,” said the official.
The multi-crore STP project was based on the vacuum sewerage network. “We have chosen the model to accommodate the requirements of the densely populated area. Compared to the traditional system, this technology will be able to vacuum the sewage within a day,” added the official.Kochi Corporation officials, are of the view that residents plight should be considered before going ahead with the project.
“As hospital and public offices are in close vicinity, we will have to figure out a consensus on the matter. If required, CSML will have to shift the project to a nearby land parcel,” said the official.
As per the proposal, 6.5-million-litre-per-day treatment plant will be set up at the 45-cent land on the banks of the Kalvathy canal. It was envisaged to solve the sewerage treatment of water discharged by over 40,000 families from the project area. CSML will lay a 72-km-long pipeline to collect sewage from households and treat it at the STP.