KOCHI: A controversy is brewing over the Purappallikkavu regulator cum bridge in Periyar with the regulator becoming ineffective on one count while on the other, allegations of corruptions surfacing regarding its alignment.
It is being alleged that a total of Rs 32 crore was wasted by shifting it from the originally proposed site. The regulator was built to prevent intrusion of saline water into Periyar from the backwater during summer.
The regulator cum bridge was initially planned at a cost of Rs 68 crore at the place where the temporary sand bund is usually built. However, later disputes over the selection arose and a section came forward demanding to shift it to Vayalkara side in Kottappuram. When this was accepted, the construction cost went up to Rs 100 crore.
While the initial cost was provided by NABARD, the additional cost had to be borne by the State Govern-ment. The bridge was jointly built by PWD and the Water Resources Department.
With the Palarivattom flyover landing in controversy, the regulator cum bridge built during the tenure of V.K. Ebrahim Kunju too has come in the spotlight. The allegation is that the alignment was changed to help a section of land owners close to Ebrahim Kunju.
However, Ebrahim Kunju is understood to have taken the stand that the place of the bridge was shifted after technical experts in Water Resources Department inspected the site, and to help save the vegetable village of ‘Cheriyathe-kkanam’ from getting destroyed by saline water.
Environmentalist Prof S Seetharaman said that the new regulator cum bridge built three years ago did not help during last summer. “The only 16 kv generator conked out in last floods and hence sand bund had to be built again to prevent saline water intrusion. Now the repaired generator supports only two out of the 23 shutters of the regulator. Now the contractor operates it and the government has not taken it over. It will be of no use unless steps are made to fully operationalise it. Probe should also be initiatied into allegations regarding shifting of the bridge from the original site,” said Prof Seetharaman.