Heavy rains bring Kochi to a standstill, residents of flooded houses furious with corporation
"As soon as it rains, people who have shops and buildings along the roads brace for water to come pouring in," said a resident, accusing the corporation of taking no interest in solving the problem
KOCHI: The heavy rains that have been lashing Kochi since last night wreaked havoc inundating major thoroughfares and residential areas on Wednesday. Drains overflowed, flooding the roads. Water entered many houses in the low-lying areas, while roads caved in and trees got uprooted at other places.
MG Road, TD Road and Shanmugham Road, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Kochi Corporation, were among the worst-hit. "These roads are submerged in knee-deep water," said Rangadasa Prabhu, president, Ernakulam Residents' Associations Apex Council (EDRAAC). According to him, it has become a norm in the area.
"As soon as it rains, people who have shops and buildings along the roads brace for water to come pouring in," he said, accusing the Kochi Corporation of taking no interest in solving the problem. "The councillors are all just interested in us when there is an election. Once that is over, they become gods and remain distant from the people. When the water level in our area started increasing, I tried to call all our ward member and also the Mayor. But nobody has picked up the call," said Prabhu.
The same is the case of those living on the West side of Perandoor canal. "Water has entered the flats located on the ground floor of the Journalist Colony and the LIG quarters of GCDA," said a resident of Journalist Colony. Perandoor Canal has been a bane for the residents living on its banks and continues to be so. "This too comes under the Kochi Corporation," said the resident. According to the EDRAAC president, all the corporation does is to call tenders and hand over the work to some contractor.
"The contractor then does the work according to his whims and fancies. He will work at a stretch for around two hours and disappear for weeks before making an appearance again. Even the drain cleaning work carried out by these corporation contractors are not perfect," he said. Other waterlogged areas in the city are P&T colony, Kammatipaadam and nearby areas.
"Water is knee-deep inside houses and residents are very angry," said Sr Anisha of SD Convent near P&T colony. According to her, this has been the situation in the area every year. "So, their anger is justifiable," she said. Not only do the economically backward residents have to worry about finding the next meal but also fight to keep their houses from getting damaged due to waterlogging, she added.
The rain also toppled many trees in the city. A huge tree got uprooted and fell over a small fast food stall at Kaloor private bus station. "I was busy packing biriyani for delivery when I heard a big creaking sound. My colleague alerted me and both of us rushed out of the shop. The tree crashed onto the shop, destroying it completely. I sustained a minor injury when I hit my head on a steel bar while rushing out," said Sakhesh, a Thrissur native who has been running the shop for the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, the side of a road caved in at Vattekunnam near Edappally. Three cars parked on the roadside fell into the compound of the house below. "The electric posts along the road too toppled in the aftermath. The incident happened near Vattekunnam Primary Health Centre. There are no casualties. The Fire Department along with KSEB removed the posts and the cars," said Anju Manoj Mani, ward councillor.
'Areas covered by Operation Breakthrough not affected'
The district administration, meanwhile, maintained that the areas where canals and drains were cleared under Operation Breakthrough didn't get flooded, unlike last year. "Kaloor and nearby areas used to get flooded every year. However, after the drains were cleared and reconstructed under Operation Breakthrough, there has been no flooding," said a district administration official.
"MG Road and Perandoor Canal don't come under Operation Breakthrough. They come under the jurisdiction of Kochi Corporation and it is they who have to be held responsible for the associated problems. As far as the waterlogging at KSRTC bus stand and Kammatipadam is concerned, once the canal nearby is cleaned, the problem will disappear," said the official.