THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sakunthala, a resident living on the East side of World Market junction dreads rain these days. When it rains, water inundates her house in no time. The house she has lived for many years gets surrounded by water and filth. With the drains clogged with sand and culverts blocked, around 20 families living near the service road at Venpalavattom share Sakunthala’s plight.The location at World Market junction is witnessing major development works. Real estate companies vie for a piece of land near the bypass to build luxury apartments. Yet the residents living right near the junction have to brave water logging.
The land with Parvathy Puthanar flowing just across the highway never faced this issue before July. There were proper drains and culverts to carry water under the road to the river. All this changed when the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) decided to close the main road to construct a flyover at the junction and divert traffic to the service road on both the sides.
The service road has been widened by filling the drains with sand and this effectively chocked the culverts. The first rain before Onam showed that water would pose a big problem for the residents. “We complained to the tahsildar and he asked the road contractor to open the drains. But it was filled again once they started the work of the overbridge,” said Subhash Kumar, a resident.
When the area got flooded once again during the recent rain, the residents again filed complaints. But there has been no response from either the contractor or the NHAI. “At first the contractor said the drain will be restored whenever there is water logging. But he has gone back on his words. I have filed a complaint with the tahsildar, who has agreed to bring the issue before the District Collector,” said Karikkakom ward councillor, Hima Siji.
The water which had accumulated in the area has been pumped out using motors. When the motor used by the contractor was not enough, the residents led by the councillor hired pump sets for this purpose. “The problem with draining water with electric pump is that it returns in no time. We demand a proper drainage system in the area,” said Subhash. When it rained continuously six families had to be shifted to a school at Oruvathilkotta. Three families have already shifted their residence.
The last one to leave was Pradeep and Girija, who shifted near Medical College, after water gushed inside their house. “I shifted my pregnant wife to her house and my mother to my sister’s house at Vizhinjam. I have a brother whose leg injury has worsened due to the dampness that has invaded our home,” said Subhash. The worst affected is Sakunthala. Along with water a lot of waste which had been dumped on the road side has entered her house. The stench from the filth has put the family of six, including two children in difficulty.
The situation is unlikely to change even after the flyover work gets over. According to ward councillor the underlying cables in the area makes it difficult for the corporation to build drains. She demanded the state government and NHAI to find a solution to the problem. “To create permanent drains we need to acquire land. The issue has escalated,” said a NHAI officer. The state government is yet to make an intervention in the issue. Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswom, and the local MLA, Kadakampally Surendran is likely to visit the affected residences on Friday.