Uncertainty over rehabilitation of traders at Fashion Street continues

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Uncertainty over relocating traders who have set up their shops on Mullassery Canal continues even as the authorities are busy finalising the bidding process for declogging the canal.

The Mullassery Canal restoration work is considered as a significant step towards the flood management programme implemented in the city.

Though the civic authorities had earlier planned to shift the traders in Fashion Street, which has come up on concrete slabs laid over the canal, to the nearby holding owned by the Kerala Water Authority, the idea had to be dropped as the place was found unfit for the temporary rehabilitation.

“Several huge pipes laid by the Authority run through the holding and traders cannot set up shops there. So the idea for shifting traders to the plot had to be dropped,” said an official of the Kochi Corporation.

The team of engineers of the Irrigation Department, which was assigned the task of declogging the canal and restoring the water flow through it, had identified that 74 shops had come up on the canal.

The engineers had also suggested to the civic authorities as well as the district administration that the illegal encroachments along the canal and the shops be removed for initiating the canal restoration work.

Currently, the authorities are toying with the idea of temporarily shifting traders to the holdings of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and the Ernakulam Maharaja’s College, which are located close to Fashion Street.

The Kochi Corporation may shortly approach these two agencies with the request for allowing the temporary rehabilitation of traders, an official said.

Officials from the Revenue Department, the Kochi Corporation and the District Administration had held a joint inspection at the site the other day.

The Kochi Corporation may write to the GCDA and the college authorities seeking permission for the rehabilitation of traders after obtaining the sketches and other documents related to the holdings, the official said.

It would require three months and ₹10 crore for the canal restoration project, as planned by the Irrigation Department.

The last date for submitting the bid is November 28.

The engineers hope to finalise the bidding process by December and kick-start the work in January, when the weather conditions improve.