THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Five years ago, city residents couldn’t consider commuting through Thampanoor or East Fort due to heavy flooding during the rains. But with the implementation of ‘Operation Anantha’, the flood mitigation project initiated in 2015, the water receded considerably to the relief of residents. However, worry has crept in as the Thampanoor region has begun to flood again. Experts blame the lack of proper follow-up in implementing the second phase of the project.
The Operation Anantha project was initiated during the tenure of former chief secretary Jiji Thomson. “The first phase of the project was properly implemented. Drains with a length of 30km to 33km were cleaned efficiently. The second phase needs to be implemented quickly, else the effort taken in the first phase will be of no use,” said Jiji.
He added that clear instructions were given so that drains are cleaned every year between January and May during his tenure. “In the first phase, we had come across a drain under the Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station which wasn’t cleaned for 40 years. Also, a new drain was constructed across the Putharikandam Maithanam, which saved the East Fort region from flooding. I’m not sure whether these drains have been opened and cleaned later,” he said.
According to him, the drainage is under the control of different departments who must unify and speed up work. “The second phase is being delayed due to the pandemic. Also, people are acting irresponsibly and dumping waste into canals. Though CCTV cameras have been installed, the corporation hasn’t penalised anyone yet for such an act. Authorities concerned must work on the second phase implementation soon, else the situation in the regions will be back to square one,” says Jiji.
According to M V Jayalekshmi, ward councillor, Thampanoor, the flooding in the region isn’t severe. “Earlier, the floodwater from the Thampanoor main road used to flow into SS Kovil Road. The road isn’t getting flooded now after the work on the stormwater drainage under AMRUT project commenced. Though the main road was flooded during the rain, it didn’t affect the residents,” she said. She added that the level on either side of the Thampanoor main road differs which explains why the side adjacent to SS Kovil Road gets flooded.
“There is a drain constructed by the Kerala Road Fund Board which goes through the front of Sreekumar Theatre and takes away the water on the main road. The cleaning work of the drain is pending. Also, there is a drain adjacent to Thiruvananthapuram RMS which I assume is not operational. The flood on main road will recede once these are cleaned,” said Jayalekshmi. However, according to a Kerala Road Fund Board official, the cleaning of drain at Thampanoor is under progress.