Kochi: When Panampilly Nagar was designed some four decades ago as a posh residential area in Kochi, there were many canals which were wide and clean. Over the years, the encroachment on major canals coupled with clogged the drains and canals have led to waterlogging.
Following the rain on Monday night, many parts of Panampilly Nagar like LIC Colony, MIG Colony and passport office were flooded. “The railway track to the Willingdon Island passes through the western side of Panampilly Nagar. There are a few drains which pass under the railway track to drain out the stormwater to backwaters on the western side of the city. The entire stormwater and wastewater get flushed out to Thervara-Perandoor canal, which runs through the eastern side of Panampilly Nagar,” said V K Thankaraj, former Ernakulam DCC secretary. “There are many culverts across the main road of Panampilly Nagar to ensure the flow of stormwater from western parts to Thevara-Perandoor canal. But, the authorities hardly clean the culverts. So, the silt gets deposited in the culverts thereby clogging it. Now, the flow of water through the culverts is not smooth. This is one of the major reasons for waterlogging in the area,” said Thankaraj, who had represented Panampilly Nagar in the corporation a couple of terms. “There are no canals for flushing out water from the drains in the city centre to the backwaters. All the stormwater right from Madhava Pharmacy area, South and Pallimukku areas flows to the eastern side and being carried by Thevara-Perandoor canal. The canal will overflow in low lying areas like Panampilly Nagar,” he said.
Shrinking of Thevara-Perandoor canal due to rampant encroachment is another important reason for waterlogging in the area. “Thevara-Perandoor canal which had a width of more than 45m has been reduced to less than 20m at many points. Corporation authorities have given building permit to an apartment complex constructed on encroached land. The realtors encroached the canal near Vattekad area. It is learnt that the corporation authorities are planning to give occupancy certificate to the building,” said Paul, a resident of Panampilly Nagar.
Each passing year, waterlogging is being reported from new areas in Panampilly Nagar. “I have been residing in the area for the past forty years. It is for the first-time water entered our premises,” said Paily Rajan, a resident of MIG Colony in Panampilly Nagar. “There was one feet-deep water in inside my house following the rain on Monday. It is the callous attitude of Kochi Corporation authorities that led to the situation,” he said.
Five years ago, GCDA started the work on the bridge across Thevara-Perandoor canal near Giri Nagar area. “They constructed a bund using iron rods and iron sheets for facilitating the work on the bridge. Later, the work on the bridge was stopped following a vigilance case. But, the GCDA authorities haven’t demolished the bund so far. This obstructs the flow of water through the canals and contributes to the waterlogging in the area,” said Ramachandran a resident of the area.
Though Kochi Corporation introduced an Rs18 crore project under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) for cleaning and protecting Thevara-Perandoor canal, the work which was started more than a year ago has not reached anywhere. According to corporation authorities, the major hurdle before them to carry out the work is the eviction of encroachments. They blame the revenue department for not carrying out a survey for fixing the boundaries of the canal.