THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hundred artificial intelligence-enabled CCTV cameras and signboards will be installed along the Akkulam-Kovalam stretch.Dumping of garbage in Parvathy Puthanar
is causing a hindrance to vessels on the Veli-Kadinamkulam-Varkala stretch
To prevent pollution and facilitate sustainable protection of the Parvathy Puthanar—one of the heavily polluted canals in the state capital— the corporation is gearing up to introduce artificial intelligence-enabled CCTV surveillance systems along the Kovalam-Akkulam stretch. The plan is to install 100 state-of-the-art surveillance camera units along the stretch. The project is being planned in the wake of the complaints raised by the Kerala Coastal and Inland Navigation Department and Kerala Waterways Infrastructure Ltd (KWIL) — the two agencies involved in the rejuvenation of the waterways.
Corporation secretary Binu Francis said that the civic body has already tendered the project to put up 100 signboards to sensitise the public against polluting water bodies. “Also, we will be putting up 100 sophisticated ultra-modern CCTV cameras. The portable cameras will give real-time warnings to the authorities concerned based on movements. They would be installed along the stretch at the hotspots identified by KWIL and Inland Navigation Department,” said Binu.
He said that each camera unit is estimated to cost around Rs 3.5 lakh. “It’s a huge project. Hence, we have submitted the proposal to the PWD Electrical Wing for technical clearance. The project will be placed for council approval soon. If the project is not technically feasible, we might have to switch over to a more cost-effective one. Good quality CCTV cameras are available with prices ranging from Rs 4,000 to Rs 15,000,” said Binu.
KWIL chief engineer Suresh Kumar said that Phase II and III of the rejuvenation project will focus on rehabilitation of the encroachers along the canal and upgrading the waterways to an international standard.“With financial aid from Suchitwa Mission, the corporation will be providing sewage discharge facilities for 312 families residing on the banks of the waterways. Once the stretch is developed, the Parvathy Puthanar will have roads on both sides and we will be able to establish sewer lines linking the area with the Muttathara Sewage Treatment Plant,” said Suresh.
Rampant waste dumping obstructs vessels
The Coastal and Inland Navigation Department has spent Rs 280 crore in the past decade to keep the canals and waterways navigable in the state capital. As part of Phase I of the rejuvenation plan, the authorities have made the Veli-Kadinamkulam-Varkala stretch navigable and introduced vessel movement. However, even the trial runs are becoming a harrowing task because of rampant waste dumping.
Sustaining the maintainance of the waterways is going to be an uphill task for the authorities. Dumping of waste is becoming a menace for the free movement of the solar vessel — the indigenous solar boat made by CIAL — which started its trial run recently. Vessel movement is obstructed as the waste gets stuck in the propeller of the vessel which might lead to accidents. Though the authorities have made the waterway navigable, the cruise along the 11km water stretch from Veli to Kadinamkulam encountered issues multiple times because of waste dumping.
Director of the Kerala Coastal and Inland Navigation Department Arun K Jacob said that vessel movement was being restarted in the stretch after years. “We launched the rejuvenation project in 2008 and have spent approximately Rs 280 crore. The rejuvenation project gained momentum after 2016 and now we have completed the first phase. In Phase II, the waterbody will be widened to 25 metres and will be made part of the state and national waterways,” said Arun.
He said that the department is hoping to introduce large-scale cruise operations on the stretch soon. “There is scope for commodity movement, responsible tourism and a lot more. Once cruise operations become more common, people will stop dumping waste,” he said.
The project is being planned in the wake of the complaints raised by the Kerala Coastal and Inland Navigation Department and Kerala Waterways Infrastructure Ltd (KWIL) — the two agencies involved in the rejuvenation of the waterways
K3.5 lakh is the cost of each camera unit to be installed
K280 Cr was spent by the Coastal and Inland Navigation Department in the past decade to keep the canals and waterways navigable in the state capital
Initiate legal action against offenders
The Coastal Inland and Navigation Department is gearing up to take legal action against slaughterhouses for dumping slaughter waste in the water body near Puthenpally bridge. As per the Kerala Irrigation Act, offenders may get imprisonment for up to three years. On Monday, the department filed a petition with the local police.
Corporation secretary Binu said that the lack of a legal slaughterhouse is one of the prime reasons for the illegal slaughtering happening in the state capital. “We will seriously look into the issue and take necessary action against the offenders,” he added.