KOCHI: A lasting solution to the long-running Vaduthala bund issue might be on the cards, with the Kerala High Court constituting a high-level committee for the same. The HC has directed the state government to appoint water resources secretary as head of the committee.
“The committee will also include the superintending engineer of minor irrigation department, Kochi Circle; director of Kerala Engineering Research Institute (KERI); Cochin Port superintending engineer (dredging); Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) joint general manager/projects and Afcons infrastructure,” said Social Welfare Action Alliance Society (SWAAS)member Jacob Santhosh.
The HC has directed the government to constitute the committee at the earliest to prevent delay in commencing the work. “The committee has been directed to initiate a necessary inquiry into the formation of the bund and a preliminary report has to be submitted to the HC within one month from the date of the receipt of the order,” he said.
The committee has to submit the final report within three months thereafter. The High-Level Committee will have the liberty to seek the assistance of any competent authority, including the police, and also verify the factual circumstances and obtain germane inputs from any source, including those from local residents, said the HC order.
Santhosh said that the HC order is a victory for SWAAS which has been fighting for the demolition of the Vaduthala bund that had formed in Vembanad Lake. “The bund developed over the years due to the accumulation of silt after debris from construction of the 4.62 km-long Vallarpadam Rail bridge blocked the Periyar water from flowing out to the sea,” he added. The bridge was commissioned in 2010. However, even a decade on, nobody bothered to remove the debris.
“The bund was largely responsible for the failure of Operation Breakthrough that was launched to address the flooding issues faced by the city,” said Jacob. Taking into cognisance the issue, the HC had suo-moto taken up the case in 2021, he pointed out. “For the time being the court has directed the government to find ways to demolish the bund and not bother about who can be held responsible for the creation of the bund,” he added.