Eateries in Kochi continue to dump waste in drains, cleaning drive drags on

Eateries continued the practice and the authorities have remained mute spectators.
Uncleaned railway culvert near Kalabhavan
Uncleaned railway culvert near KalabhavanPhoto | Express

KOCHI: In November 2022, Kochi corporation issued a closure notice to a few eateries on MG Road, near Padma junction, after they were found dumping thick oily waste into the drains. That left the drainage system clogged, causing waterlogging on the busy road.

However, the eateries continued the practice and the authorities have remained mute spectators.

“Last week, a few workers were seen removing the waste the eateries had dumped into the drain. Despite orders to install filters and waste treatment plants, many of the eateries have failed to set them up, and the Kochi corporation has also not carried out any inspection or initiated action against the violators,” said Kerala Merchants Chamber of Commerce secretary Manoj Kumar.

The situation becomes grave as the monsoon season is just weeks away, raising concerns among citizens about potential flooding in the city. 

Alleging that the corporation failed to carry out desilting in major canals and drains, M G Aristotle, an opposition councillor, said no major work is being done in the divisions.

“A suction-cum-jetting machine was brought in but it is hardly used while cleaning the canals. Recently, we came to know that the machine has developed some technical issues and hence is not being used,” Aristotle said.

The lack of follow-up inspections at the offending eateries amplifies the risk of continued violations, threatening the city with another year of severe waterlogging, he said.

“February to May was a dry season, yet nothing was done clean drains and canals,” he added.

 Meanwhile, an official with the corporation’s engineering wing said a total of 243 works related to drain cleaning are progressing.

“The works have been tendered and will be completed by the last week of May. The suction-cum-jetting machine developed some technical issues because of excessive use. An alternative machine was delivered on Monday and it will be used to clean the drains in the MG Road area from this week,” the official said.

The corporation will form a task force to intervene during the monsoon season in areas where waterlogging is expected, he added. 

According to a source, the corporation health department is yet to take any legal action against the eateries. “In many areas, including Panampilly Nagar and MG Road, the eateries continue to dump waste into the drains,” the source said. 

Meanwhile, health standing committee chairman T K Ashraf said the department will carry out an inspection.

“A few eateries have installed a plant as advised, but it has come to our attention that many are violating the advisory. Hefty fines will be imposed and legal action initiated against the violators,” Ashraf said. 

Manoj Kumar, who is also a committee member of the Operation Breakthrough project, pointed out that there is a lack of cooperation among the government agencies in implementing the work.  

“The corporation, Cochin Smart Mission, Railways, PWD, GCDA and the irrigation department lack coordination. There are around 21 railway culverts from the Vaduthala crossing to Thevara. It is important to clean these culverts before the monsoon to avoid flooding. Last year, we carried out the required cleaning. But so far this year, the Railways have not cleaned these culverts. In a meeting last week, Railways officials said they would begin work this week but nothing has been done,” Manoj said.  

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