Kozhikode: Conolly Canal in the heart of this city was once its lifeline as trade and transport were conducted through it. A project to revive the canal is finally on after a long wait by public, environmentalists and heritage lovers.
The Kerala Waterways Infrastructure Limited (KWIL), an initiative of the Kerala Government, and Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) will be associated with the removal of sludge and water hyacinths from the canal. The work, which is part of a Rs 46 lakh project, has already started at the confluence of Conolly Canal and Kallayi river.
The KWIL is executing the project which has been put forward by the district administration.
The effort is to spruce up the area between Kallayi and Ernajikkal and make it conducive for boat service in three months’ time. The project contractor is the Kochi-based Matprop Technical Services.
The project’s main goal is to clear huge amounts of sludge, using a silt pusher and floating excavator, which had accumulated at the conflux. It would take at least three weeks to completely remove the silt and the sludge would be dumped at an appropriate place.
District Collector Sambasiva Rao had put forward this project after experts opined that the silt at the water-mouth should be removed to ensure smooth flow of water in the canal. After the sludge is removed, water would flow from the river into the canal during high tide and the reverse during low tide. It is expected that water hyacinths would vanish as the river water would mix with the salty sea water.
Once the canal is cleaned up, water from the city would flow into the canal and river, and eventually into the sea during a heavy downpour.
Water hyacinths to be removed
The water hyacinths that have enveloped the canal near Eranjipalam and Sarovarom areas would be destroyed after they are chopped into small pieces using an aquatic shredder. A weed harvester would also be pressed into service, and the wild vegetation on the banks of the canal would also be removed as part of the project.
Last year, ‘Niravu Vengeri’ volunteers, with the support of district administration and city corporation, led a cleaning drive to remove non-biodegradable waste from the canal. The canal had been divided into eight sectors and an agreement had been inked with eight green partners for the upkeep of the water body. There is a demand to call a meeting of these stakeholders.
Mayor’s boat ride
Kozhikode Mayor Thottathil Ravindran undertook a boat ride, from Kothi to the confluence, to have a close look at the sand ridges which obstructed the water flow in Kallayi river. The team that travelled with the Mayor found that several encroachments were on the river.