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Dredged, encroachment-free canal would have prevented flooding at Edappally in Kochi

Rampant encroachment, pollution, and the menace of water hyacinth had taken a toll on the ecosystem of the Edappally canal in Kochi. A scene from near Edappally toll on Friday.

Posted on June 3, 2024

The severe flooding of roads at Edappally, where NH 66 and NH 544 merge, which led to tens of thousands of commuters getting stranded during the past few days amid incessant rains could have been averted, had the Edappally Canal been dredged during summer months and encroachers along the waterbody were removed in a time-bound manner as part of the ₹3,853-crore Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System (IURWTS) in the Greater Kochi area.

The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) had in November increased the project’s outlay from initial ₹1,528 crore.

Having identified that the reduced width and depth of canals in the region due to rampant encroachments and garbage dumping was one of the major causes for intermittent flooding, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) had recommended widening of major canals to a minimum width of 16.50 metres. It suggested building walkways with a minimum width of 2 metres on both sides of canals to activate the canal-front and prevent further encroachments.

Encroachments rampant

Informed sources said that in Kochi, a total of 42 hectares of privately owned land were to be acquired to widen four key canals — Edapally canal, Perandoor canal, Chilavannur canal (including Changadampokku Thodu and Karanakodam Thodu), and Thevara canal. “Among them, only 70% of the 11-km-long Edappally canal, mostly in areas south of Edappally Junction, had met the mandated 16.50-m-width. The width of the waterbody began to decrease north of Edappally Junction, extending up to Muttar,” sources added.

Huge amounts of plastic and other waste had been accumulated at the bottom of all these canals, which necessitates intensive dredging. The dredging of Market canal as part of the IURWTS had considerably brought down flooding of Menaka and Broadway areas. The agencies concerned must take a cue from this and allot funds for other canals.

A view of the seaweed-infested Edapally canal. Demand is rife to clean, dredge and widen it.

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