The confusion over drainage construction works near the Parade Ground in Fort Kochi has been sorted out following a site inspection on Thursday by division councillors, officials of the Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) and Kerala Water Authority (KWA), and people of the locality .
“The ground already has drains on three sides. A pair of new drains (of which a section of people had objected to the one bordering the ground) are inevitable on the other side which has a wide road, since resident associations submitted complaints to us about waterlogging. This necessitated a crossing to link the side drain which had to be ended near a tree, in order to prevent axing of the over a century-old tree,” said sources in CSML which is building the drains.
“The drain has sufficient gradient and is linked with the main canal which lets out excess water into the sea. It will not cause waterlogging in the road or the ground,” they added, referring to concerns about the historic ground getting inundated due to the construction.
“All cobble stones will be related on the footpath once the drain work is over while the adjacent road will be resurfaced. All footpath works will be completed in a month, while all pending works in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, except smart road works by a contractor who has been issued termination notice, will be done by November,” they added.
On its part, the KWA has agreed to relocate pipelines from roads which have been identified for developing as smart roads.
Referring to complaints by heritage enthusiasts that the roots of many massive trees were chopped, they said this was necessitated due to repaving of cobble stones on footpaths. In addition, the social forestry approved cutting of six trees on KB Jacob Road. “Ten times the number of trees that are felled will be planted in the area as part of compensatory afforestation,” he said.
Heritage enthusiasts, led by former Mayor KJ Sohan, had expressed angst at the drain work and pruning of roots of trees with massive canopy that date back to the colonial era.
Mr. Sohan said that he would send a complaint to CSML and the Fort Kochi RDO, citing that the drain in question was unnecessary and that it would lead to water entering Parade Ground. “This is because it would be the third drain running parallel to one another in an 18-m space,” he said.