Monday, 21 November 2016

Parvathy Puthanar Canal to Get Back its Past Glory

Introduction

Historic Parvathi Puthanar canal that was witness to many events happening on its banks that changed the destiny of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore is lying in shambles, totally infested with wild shrubs and weeds, and the wastes put in by people living near its banks.  Over the years, the people have neglected it, and it has become non-navigable and its water unusable. If we now walk by its banks, we get the stench smell. This is the current state of this historic canal that was once the waterway for the goods transportation from far off cities to the capital city of the erstwhile Travancore dynasty.  Through the years of neglect, the depths of the canal at several places has much become reduced due to the accumulation of filth from around 750 houses situated on its banks. After such a long period of neglect, the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has taken steps to clean up the canal to make it navigable. In this blog post, we will be looking at the steps taken by the civic body of the city to restore the historic Parvathy Puthanar canal to its past glory.

neglected parvathy puthanar

Survey to Fix the Boundary of the Canal

In order to restore the historic canal, the surveying of the area under the Muttathara village has started. As part of this exercise, the authorities are trying to find survey stones under the Ponnara Bridge. In the second phase, the six villages such as Muttathara, Pettah, Kadakampally, Menamkularm, Attipra and Velloor will also come under the survey for the same purpose. Based on this exercise, the authorities will fix the boundaries of the dilapidated canal along the 16 kilometre stretch. The 16 kilometre stretch of the canal links Kovalam with Akkulam.  The survey will also be used to find the ‘puram boke’ land or buffer zone. This enables the authorities to detect the encroachments on the canal.  Though the deadline given for the work is November 30, 2016, the authorities will not finish the survey in time as they are working with the skeletal staff of four surveyors.

parvathy puthanar boundaries

Canal Restoration Plan

According to the plan worked out, the full stretch of the canal connecting Kovalam to Akkulam will be made navigable.  At Akkulam, the canal will open into backwaters. To make this happen, the depth of the canal should increase. So, the authorities are planning to dredge the canal and clean it. In order to stop the mixing of sewage from the banks with canal water, the authorities are planning to lay new sewage pipe lines. Authorities believe that the canal has a unique and natural design. This design enables it flushes itself out water naturally using sea water during heavy rainfall. Hence, they believe that with some effort at cleaning the canal will keep it clean for many years.

parvathy puthanar renovation

Potential of Restored Canal

At reasonable depth, the Parvathy Puthanar canal will become navigable for cruise operations from Trivandrum International Airport to Kovalam.  As an extension, the canal will also be linked to the Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway 3 to increase the transport through water, which is the cheapest mode available in the state. After completion, the navigation canal will have a length of 16 kilometres and a depth of 2.2 meters. The renovated canal has the hot potential to become a hot tourism circuit in the city, as it links two famous destinations such as Akkulam and Kovalam.

artist impression

Thuruvananthapuram Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
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