Tired of emphasising on cleaning of canals before monsoon, says Kerala High Court

Cleaning should have been done earlier, instead of at the last minute, court tells government
Canal cleaning works are in progress in Kerala
Canal cleaning works are in progress in Kerala

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday observed that it was tired of talking about the timely cleaning of canals and water bodies in the city.

“The cleaning work should have been done earlier, instead of doing it at the last minute. Don’t you have a master plan?” Justice Devan Ramachandran said when the state government informed the court that the cleaning of the Edappally canal is progressing.

In response to the various orders issued by the court in the recent past, the government pleader submitted that the cleaning of various canals and channels, including the Edappally canal, is under way. The work is being done jointly by the Kochi corporation and the irrigation department, he explained.

The counsel for Kochi corporation said portions within the corporation limits are being completed, while the irrigation department handles the remaining portions. Regarding the city’s drainage system, he said the corporation is taking action under the guidance of the high-powered committee.

The amicus curiae submitted that the recent flooding discloses the inadequacy in the preparedness to face monsoon. There should be a cleaning calendar for the entire year, which should be followed inflexibly so that citizens are not subjected to flooding when heavy rain occurs, he suggested.

The senior government pleader added that three other local self-government institutions – Kalamassery, Tripunithura and Thrikkakkara – are also involved. The court stated it is aware of the situation, and hence, the district collector was empowered with the high-powered committee under it. Excuses will not help when citizens face flooding even when it rains for a few hours, rather it is time for action, the court said.

“As rightly stated by the amici curiae, it is not when the monsoon has started that the cleaning should start, but much earlier. This court has been emphasising this for the last several years. But there was no proper action,” the court said.

The court made it clear that the counting of votes on Tuesday would not affect the cleaning work in the city.

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