Monday, 7 November 2016

Kerala Plans to Revive Historic Canal Connecting Kollam and Kovalam


In the run-up to the draft preparation for Trivandrum Smart City project, the Kerala Government is mulling over the revival of the ages-old Varkala TS canal. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government has asked the former Chairman of Delhi Metro Corporation E. Sreedharan to do a viability-study. Within short span of time, the report from the Delhi Metro guy would be submitted to the government. The government has sought to revive this project to promote green-friendly transport that is cheaper and economical. In this blog, we will be looking at the new measures the Kerala Government has taken to ready this waterway for the public transport of men and material.

new ts canal

TS Canal Revival Plan

Over the past few years, the successive Kerala Governments were unsuccessfully trying to revive this neglected canal that provided the main stream of transport for the people in the pre-independent era. However, due to one reason or the other, these governments had to shelf this plan. With the funding getting available under the Smart City project, the incumbent Kerala Government is trying to revive the ages-old Varkala TS canal that provides vital waterway connection between Kollam and Kovalam. However, there was a hitch in the project involving Sivagiri and Chilakoor tunnels. This was one of the reasons why the previous governments could not make any headway in this project.  The incumbent Kerala Government has sought the views of E. Sreedharan on widening the Sivagiri and Chilakoor tunnels. Before submitting the report, the Delhi Metro man visited the above said canals to look at their widening prospects. Mr. E. Sreedharan had the expertise in laying of 83 kilometers of tunnels in 92 locations for Konkan Railway in the western coast of the country.

old ts canal

Varkala TS Canal Project

This ambitious project is to revive and widen the 722-metre Sivagiri tunnel and the 350-meter Chilakoor tunnel that form the important part of 60.5-kilometer Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam section of the grand TS canal. The government wanted to build this canal to extend the National Waterway III up to Kollam. Widening of these two canals will make sure the hassle free movement of bigger vessels and barges through the proposed waterway between Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. The government also seeks to finish the adjacent Kollam-Kottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal before its impending date of commissioning. In order to revive the canal for hassle-free navigation up to Kovalam, the authorities have to take up a lot of work in the form of dredging, widening and reinforcement of banks along the stretch. The Kerala Government intends through this exercise create a 14-meter wide and 2-meter deep waterway on the 12.7-kilometer stretch to enable the larger vessels to cruise nicely.

artist impression ts canal

Government's Grand Plan

By completing this project, the government will be able to set up a parallel waterway along the western coast for cheaper transport of men and material. With this in mind, the government had taken steps to speed up the development and revival of waterway from Anchuthengu Kayal to Nadayara Kayal. It has also taken steps to revive the two tunnels at Varkala and Reach II from Thazhevettoor to Ramanthalay.  The total cost of the stretch in the Varkala-Anchuthengu corridor is Rs. 9 crores. This stretch of waterway will then add to the Kollam Kottapuram part of National Waterway III to link the north and south of Kerala.

grand plan
Thuruvananthapuram Kollam, Kerala, India
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