Passengers waiting at the Ernakulam KSRTC bus station during the heavy downpour on Thursday
Passengers waiting at the Ernakulam KSRTC bus station during the heavy downpour on Thursday Photo | T P Sooraj

Another rainy day, same pathetic situation

Several parts of city inundated following continuous downpour; around 50 families residing in Santhipuram Colony hit the hardest.

KOCHI : Several parts of Kochi were inundated for the second consecutive day on Thursday after heavy rain lashed the city continuously since 3pm.

Panampilly Nagar, Kaloor, Thammanam, Azad Road, MG Road, Ernakulam Junction railway station, Karikkamuri, parts of TD Road, Azad Road and other low-lying areas in some divisions were flooded within hours of the rain, throwing traffic out of gear. Around 50 families residing in Santhipuram Colony, Thammanam, were hit the hardest.

On Wednesday night, water from the drains and canal had entered their houses following the rain. “The water later receded, but the heavy rain on Thursday led to the same situation again. There is a threat of diseases as waste water from the drain is entering the houses,” said Elsy, 73, who has been residing at the colony for the past 45 years. For the past 12 years, this has been the situation at the colony, said the residents.

“Over time, the drain shrank in width due to encroachment. The authorities are not taking any corrective action. Water from the drain enters our houses, spoiling food items and damaging furniture and electronic equipment. We had bought the equipment after taking a bank loan,” rued Ramla Siddique, a resident. “Whenever there is a flood-like situation, we are shifted to a relief camp,” she said.

George Nanat, the area councillor, said arrangements have been made to shift the colony residents to a relief camp opened at St Rita’s Girl’s High School in Ponnurunni should the situation worsen. The Tripunithura village officer has handed over the school keys to set up a relief camp if required, Nanat said.

“The place will be waterlogged for a couple of hours after the rain stops. Since the colony is in a low-lying area, the water has to flow to the backwaters through the Karnakodam canal. It is high tide, which means this will take time,” Nanat said.

Kochi Mayor M Anilkumar said continuous rain during high tide led to waterlogging. “The corporation had carried out major chunk of the canal and drain cleaning works. Due to this, the roads saw waterlogging for just a couple of hours after it stopped raining. Only the completion of the rejuvenation project of six major canals will provide a permanent solution to waterlogging in Kochi,” he said.

Meanwhile, the mayor said the waterlogging at MG Road was a result of the unscientific construction of the drain.

“We have already brought the matter to the attention of the Kerala High Court. The corporation also wrote to Loknath Behera, the MD of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), in this regard. The drainage system on MG Road, constructed by KMRL during the previous council’s term, was not designed to allow smooth flow of water. The KMRL, public works department and the HC were informed of this, following which the court ordered reconstruction of the canal,” he said.

Opposition councillors removing weeds near the canal at Karanakodam bridge in protest against the failure of pre-monsoon clean-up by the corporation
Opposition councillors removing weeds near the canal at Karanakodam bridge in protest against the failure of pre-monsoon clean-up by the corporation Photo | T P Sooraj

Anilkumar said he met Works Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, seeking the canal’s reconstruction. “On his directive, the PWD prepared a detailed estimate and submitted it for administrative approval. The canal must be urgently rebuilt. The corporation believes that either PWD or KMRL, which originally constructed it, should undertake the reconstruction,” he said.

Anilkumar said the corporation has purchased advanced machines like weed harvesters and silt pushers and they are expected to arrive by the end of June. “The machines are anticipated to significantly improve the Perandoor canal’s function. Despite continuous intervention by the district collector and the HC, the construction of the Mullassery canal has prolonged due to the presence of sewer and water authority pipelines, among other factors. Though the municipality quickly relocated traders from the canal area, the irrigation department failed to complete the work,” Anilkumar said.

The mayor said pre-monsoon cleaning activities were planned before the elections, and tenders were expedited. Around 80% of the works are over, with some extending to May 31, he said. “The section-cum-jetting machine has been used since Wednesday night to remove debris that accumulated in MG Road’s drains. The new machines arriving in June will further expedite the efforts. The district collector, the corporation secretary and engineer, irrigation department officials, and fire department personnel are working round the clock,” he said.

No pre-monsoon cleaning done: Oppn councillors

Alleging failure by the Kochi corporation in completing pre-monsoon cleaning works, UDF councillors staged a protest by removing sludge from the Karanakodam canal amid heavy rain on Thursday. The councillors were up in arms against Mayor M Anilkumar’s statement that the corporation had completed 80% of the work. “The corporation started the cleaning work only by May end, when it should have started in April or May. None of the major canals like Thevara-Perandoor and Karanakodam canals have been desilted so far,” said Opposition leader Antony Kureethara.

The New Indian Express