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Kerala High Court directs Kochi civic body to widen drain before monsoon

The Petitioner Gracious Kuriakose , have approached the High Court seeking directions to the Corporation to widen the drain , particularly at the area where the residences of Private respondent are situating.

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The Kerala High Court has directed the Kochi Corporation to widen the drain running on the southern side of the Shenoy Cross Road towards Kathrikadavu.

K.K.Chandran Pillai, Senior Counsel, appeared on behalf of the petitioners, filed the sketch which shows that except at the stretch of the drain which runs through the properties of private respondent it has sufficient width; and consequently that there is a bottleneck caused, thus restricting the flow of storm and drain water by 60 to 70%.

The petitioner, Gracious Kuriakose , has approached the High Court seeking directions to the Corporation to widen the drain, particularly at the area where residences of private respondent are situated.

The Senior Counsel further submitted that when there was a similar issue with respect to the another part of the “Seena thodu” (Thevara-Perandoor canal), the petitioners, along with others, had approached the High Court to obtain judgment respectively, as per which, the said “thodu” was directed to be widened even through the properties of private persons, making it clear that the said properties will remain with them in ownership and possession and that a new drain will be completely slabbed, so that there will be no interdiction for them from using it in future.

Counsel appearing for Private Respondent have not contested against the requirement for widening the drain in question but prayed that it be done from both sides, namely the western and the eastern side of the existing one and not merely from the properties of their clients alone.

K. Janardhana Shenoy, standing counsel for the Corporation of Kochi, submitted that if this Court permits, then his client will immediately begin work of widening the stretch in question so that there will be no inundation there when the monsoons begin, in about a month’s time. He submitted that the attenuation of the width of the drain/thodu has happened on account of encroachments by various persons, including the party respondents.

A single-judge bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that it will not be possible for this Court to enter into the questions of encroachments at this time, because of the impending monsoons, which is likely to hit Kerala by end of May or first week of June. What is required by the Petitioners is that the drain/thodu be widened sufficiently, so that there will be no flooding. I do not think that anyone can stand against this.

The Court therefore , directed the Corporation of Kochi to widen the drain/thodu through the properties owned by private respondents, as far as practically possible to the same width as is available with respect to the rest of the stretch within a period of one month.

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It is clarified by the Court that the land which is now used for the purpose of widening of the drain/thodu will remain in ownership/possession with two private respondents, until it is recovered as per law by the Corporation, if they are so desirous.

“In other words, merely because the drain is widened, it will not be up to the Corporation to claim the land to be their own, but will have only the right to conduct periodical maintenance and cleaning, for which purpose Private Respondents will give them full access. After the drain is so widened to the requisite depth as is found necessary by the Corporation, it will be covered by them with slabs so that Private Respondents can then use it without any interdiction,” ordered the court while disposing the petition.

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