Thiruvananthapuram: The man-made Parvathy-Puthanar canal created in the 18th century as a water route in the erstwhile Travancore kingdom is set to reclaim its past glory.
The garbage-filled canal, more or less dubbed as the sorrow of present-day Thiruvananthapuram city, has been made navigable, with the authorities successfully doing trial run of a boat in the canal which was till recently clogged by weeds and debris.
The Kerala Waterways and Infrastructure Ltd (KWIL), a special purpose vehicle formed by the state government and the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), were behind the clean-up of the channel which flows south-east, parallel to the coast. KWIL undertook the cleaning activities of the filthy canal last June.
The canal, named after the then Travancore Queen Parvathi Bai, was dredged and made navigable as part of the state government's ambitious West Coast Canal project, the main arterial waterway in the state extending from Kovalam in the south to Bekkal in the north.
The trial run of the boat was conducted from Akkulam to Vallakadavu, the 6-km stretch where the cleaning work was completed.
The rejuvenation of the 13-km corridor of the canal from Akkulam to Panathura was stalled multiple times until most modern equipment such as silt pusher and aquatic weed shredder were sourced from abroad. The devices removed the garbage and water hyacinths in loads. The canal was deepened to 1.5 metres after mucking out the slush and other solid waste from the water body.
Meanwhile, the flow of the water came to a standstill as bunds were erected across the canal for constructing the Perunelli bridge. Water hyacinths again brought the situation to square one, and hence the trial run by the 6-seater boat was conducted after clearing the weeds again.
The authorities plan to do the trial runs once in a week until the launch of a transport service will be launched in March 2020. The government plans to introduce a 30-seater solar boat for the purpose. The construction of the boat designed by the Cochin University of Science and Technology will begin soon.
'Puthannar' means 'the new river.'