The Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), aiming to bring back the canals of Kochi to its past glory by making it navigable, has completed the surveys for its ambitious project Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System. KMRL is aiming to revive six major canals of Kochi namely, Edappally Canal, Chilavanoor canal, Thevara – Perandoor canal, Thevara canal, Market canal. and Konthuruthy canal. Surveys related to all the water bodies have been completed, KMRL said in a statement.
In 2019, the state government directed the project to KMRL, which also significantly aims to address the water logging issues in Kochi city. Most of these canals that pass through Kochi city are in a dilapidated condition being reduced to a drain and encroachments are also rampant in many places.
Once the canals are made navigable, it will be linked to the upcoming Water Metro project of the KMRL. KMRL also envisages to develop water sports facilities, sports complex etc, it states.
Netherlands based Andrea Nederland BV has developed the concept, master plan and detailed design of the project for KMRL. "KMRL has completed all major surveys within a short span of time. Detailed Project Report has been prepared and submitted for approval to the state government. We have lined up the course of action including cleaning of canals, rehabilitation of affected persons, shore protection and canal oriented developments, thus bringing life back to the canals in Kochi " Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Managing Director of KMRL said in a statement.
He also added that KMRL is looking to create more "lung spaces" -- green cover -- along the banks of the canals. KMRL also states that people who need to be rehabilitated as part of the land acquisition will be resettled in a "full fledged housing complex". Land for this has been identified in Kakkanad. The acquisition process is progressing fast, it said.
Meanwhile, there are criticisms that the project will not however impact many major encroachments along the canals, that has happened over the years. In case of Thevara-Perandoor alone, the canal which once had a maximum width upto 45 to 60 metres now is reduced to a maximum width of 15 metres. According to reports, however the KMRL only plans to widen it to a maximum of 16 metres. This has drawn flak from a section of environmental activists.