Where does the muck stop for Kochi?

The Congress had survived a scare in the byelection in the Ernakulam assembly constituency in October 2019.
Where does the muck stop for Kochi?

KOCHI: The city gets flooded even after a mild shower and it was quite surprising, and to an extent distressing, to see that there was no visible outcry or agitation when the heavens opened last time. It seems the city residents have resigned to their fate --- just be at peace. Protest is a futile exercise, they have realised. No one cares a damn.

On Sunday, it rained for just an hour, and guess what, major areas of the city --- MG Road, Jos Junction, KSRTC bus stand, Menaka and Kadavanthra --- were all flooded in a few minutes. Remember, this is a city that aims to become a ‘global urban centre’ with a slew of showpiece projects being lined up.Protests may not be visible, but discontent is there, for sure. It is widely perceived that the main reason for the Congress-led UDF’s reversal in the Kochi corporation elections in 2020 was the failure of then Congress mayor Soumini Jain and her corporators to address the issue of recurring waterlogging and flooding in the city.

The Congress had survived a scare in the byelection in the Ernakulam assembly constituency in October 2019. It rained on the election day and, as expected, most areas in the city including many polling booths got flooded. Congress candidate T J Vinod won in its traditionally strong constituency, but by a slim 3,673-vote margin. Congress normally enjoys a 10,000-vote majority and Hibi Eden, who had vacated the seat to contest the general elections paving the way for the bypoll, had won by 22,000 votes in the previous polls.

So, how come the municipal corporation and its mayor M Anilkumar are remaining complacent? The truth is that there is no systematic cleaning of drainage. Also, due to the unscientific designing of the roads, water is not flowing into the drainage and canals.

It’s not that there have been no attempts to rid the city of flooding. Operation Breakthrough is one, but it has not fetched the desired results. The project, for which the government has earmarked `10 crore, involves the deepening of canals such as Mullassery, and restoration of the one between the KSRTC bus stand and Chittoor Road and others, and the removal of pipelines laid through them.

As an afterthought, at the time of writing this piece, the Youth Congress workers gheraoed Anilkumar on Wednesday. As expected, he expressed his helplessness and said a solution could not be found overnight.
He also pointed fingers at Kochi Metro for its unscientific construction of canals between 2010 and ‘15, a period when the Congress-led UDF under mayor Tony Chammany governed the Kochi corporation.
Kochiites will have no option but to rue their fate every time they step out, but what they really feel stinking is this blame game.


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