A year has passed since the Parvathy Puthanar claimed the lives of four children in Kadinamkulam.
Karikkakam school van tragedy, where six toddlers and a caretaker lost their lives in February last year, was followed by another shocker at Channankara on September 26. Sadly, a look back at the first anniversary of Channankara incident proves that the authorities had not learnt any lessons from both tragedies.
Immediately after the incidents, the government had ordered the construction of a retaining wall on the side of the Parvathy Puthanar. A year later, the officials of the Inland Navigation Directorate are still striving to complete the works. Executive engineer Unnikrishnan said that there were some procedural delays and they would complete the work in two-three months.
Unable to meet the August deadline, the contractors have approached the department for an extension till December 31.
The Inland Navigation official, however, claimed to have completed 95 per cent of the retaining wall at Karikkakam. “The government has earmarked ` 125 lakh for the construction of a retaining wall from Kovalam to Pallithura and to remove water hyacinth from the Parvathy Puthanar every three months for one-and-a-half years,” said Unnikrishnan, adding that cleaning works were held once.
After the Parvathy Puthanar turned a watery grave for children twice, the Inland Navigation Directorate had prepared an estimate to construct retaining walls on the banks of rivers and streams in the district. However, the project failed to get a nod from the Government.
Meanwhile, the district administration had set several guidelines for the school vans after the incident. It was the cleaner who drove the van which plunged into Channankara on the fateful day.
District Collector K N Satheesh said that all the vehicles were checked during the school reopening time. “If there are any complaints against drivers, we will check them,” he said.