Cleaning of Kochi canals to pick up pace after polls

Agreement yet to be inked with contractors for large canals

Canal cleaning in the city to avoid waterlogging during the monsoon will pick up pace after the polls, according to Kochi Corporation authorities.

After having been hauled up by the High Court for stalling pre-monsoon canal cleaning in the city citing the model code of conduct, the Corporation will soon begin cleaning the large canals.

The tender process for drain cleaning in some divisions is complete and work has begun, while an agreement is yet to be inked with contractors for large canals such as the Thevara-Perandoor and Rameswaram-Kalvathy canals.

“Paper work has been initiated for the larger canals such as the Thevara-Perandoor canal, and we are hoping to begin work by next week,” said Sunitha Dixon, chairperson of works standing committee. “There has been some delay since officials were on poll duty. But drain cleaning work in the divisions has already begun. A sum of ₹3 lakh has been allotted for smaller canals and ₹5 lakh for larger canals, while an additional ₹1 lakh is being made available under health circles based on the councillors’ suggestions for small drains,” she said.

A round of cleaning of the Thevara-Perandoor canal had been done earlier under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), but the weeds that had covered the surface at present would have to be removed and a fresh file would have to be prepared for the same, said Mayor M. Anilkumar.

The Rameswaram-Kalvathy canal, the poor condition of which had caused waterlogging in parts of West Kochi in the past, appeared to not be included under any current project, said the Mayor. Projects overlapping with those of other agencies were proposed and removed, to the effect that no project exists for the canal any more. It was included under a Cochin Smart Mission Limited project, but was later removed from it. The Corporation was attempting to get it included under a canal rejuvenation project that Kochi Metro Rail Limited was proposing, he added, but before a decision was made on that, cleaning of the canal would have to be initiated.

The Corporation Council had decided in February that a master plan of the drainage network would be prepared to deal with waterlogging. “This will require time and government help, and has been put on hold till after the polls,” said the Mayor.

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