Seaport-airport waterway to skip Periyar

The state government has decided to explore an alternative way to operate the Seaport-Airport express waterway exempting the Periyar, which is the drinking water source of 40 lakh people residing in and around Kochi.

The Inland Water Authority of India (IWAI) has now been entrusted with the task of finding an alternative route to link the seaport to the airport and the IWAI is expected to submit its report soon. The IWAI is understood to have explored a new route via Chengalthodu.

Water Resources Principal Secretary V.J. Kurien, who is also the CIAL managing director in charge of the project, has gone on record that the drinking water source of Kochi and its suburbs, the Periyar, cannot be polluted anymore.

“At this point drinking water is becoming scarce. Periyar which provides precious drinking water to lakhs of people cannot be troubled any further. If such a waterway is allowed and different kinds of vessels are routed as part of tourism and other purposes through the river, the drinking water sources will be further polluted,” Kurien said.

The alternative route proposed for the Seaport-Airport waterway, which is before the IWAI, comprises Chengalthodu and will pass through Neduvannoor, Kaprassery, Parambayam, Desam, Puthuvassery, Chengamanad, Manjaly, Paravoor Kottayil Kovilakam and will flow into the backwaters there. From there boats can proceed in one direction to Kodungalloor and in the opposite direction to Kochi.

However, existing canals in these areas need to be deepened and widened, silted, cleaned and networked, before the project can materialize, said Nasir, a shareholder of CIAL and a native of the area.

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