THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kazhakoottam — one of the rapidly developing towns in the capital — is turning hostile for residents as waterlogging and flash flood becomes a daily affair in areas surrounding Technopark. Rampant encroachment of water bodies, aggressive construction activities and unscientific construction of the National Highway have turned the residential areas flood prone, prompting families to move out or abandon their property.
Several families residing in Attipra, Mukkolakkal, Palace Nagar and Nila Nagar areas are on the verge of displacement because of recurring flooding. The recent rain has made the areas more vulnerable and in many areas, floodwater is not receding owing to a lack of proper stormwater drainage.
As many as 12 houses at Palace Nagar were inundated during the recent heavy rain, forcing families to move to relatives’ houses or rented homes. Biju S S, a social worker and a local resident, blamed the unscientific NH development for flooding.
“The government needs to develop roads but not at the cost of people’s lives. They take away our land and plan development excluding local people. They don’t care how all these developments would impact the residents. I have been living here for the past 40 years and my mother passed away recently. She was always worried about our home that it would collapse as it is under constant threat of flooding. Almost every resident in my area moved out as there is no solution in sight.
Flooding worsened after the construction of the flyover and NH,” said Biju. He said the government should consider the families who are the victims of these developments. “When they plan development, they should consider giving scientific solutions to the residents. We need a permanent solution to the issue. We have decided to take it up with the chief minister,” he added.
S Amritha, another resident, said flooding worsened in the past two years. “My house is surrounded by water and there are water snakes. Even if the rain subsides, floodwater does not recede. My family members are having allergy issues. We cannot step out of the house,” said Amritha, a student. However, neither the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) nor Public Works Department (PWD) is ready to own up the responsibility and address the issue of residents. With complaints mounting, local MLA Kadakampally Surendran granted Rs 18 lakh from the MLA fund for drainage construction to address the issue at Palace Nagar. However, the work failed to take off because of the delay in getting the NOC from NHAI.
Kadakampally told TNIE that the flooding issue in Kazhakootam constituency has worsened following the NH development. “They developed it without having proper stormwater drains. There are drains on the NH but there is none on the service roads or a system linking the drains on the NH to Parvathy Puthanar. They constructed the service roads without a proper drainage which is causing flooding in residential areas. None of the departments is ready to address the issue because of the cost involved. It is the responsibility of the NHAI and I have taken this up multiple times in the past years with the PWD and NH authorities. They continue to ignore the issue. I have decided to meet the PWD minister and hold more meetings with NHAI to find a resolution to the issue,” said Kadakampally.
He said the work of the cross drain at Kazhakoottam which would address the flooding at Palace Nagar has taken off. “There needs to be a proper drainage for the NH from Kazhakootam to Vizhinjam,” he added. “We need a permanent solution to the problem. We have been facing this issue for the past three to four years. Earlier, the floodwater used to recede after two to three days but now it takes several months,” Gauri P, a resident of Palace Nagar.