Kochi: Heavy rains in the districts since Wednesday morning affected normal life at many places. Daily commuters from the neighbouring areas travelling to the city had to bear the brunt of the rain. Functioning of offices and other commercial establishments was hit as most of the staff and workers reached late.
Traffic chaos and rundown roads added to the woes. Low-lying areas in the city and suburbs have been inundated. Power supply was disrupted in the eastern parts as trees got uprooted and fell on power lines. The River Periyar is in spate and the Kerala Water Authority’s pump house at Aluva is under the threat of inundation.
“If the water level is raised further, the pump house will be submerged and the increase in the level of mud in the water will affect the pumping ,” said sources at KWA. After the onset of monsoon, as many as 13 houses were destroyed and 286 houses were partially damaged in Ernakulam. Five persons including two fishermen were killed in the monsoon havoc.
In Eloor, more than 200 families have been shifted to rehabilitation camps after their houses were inundated. Parur taluk is the worst hit where1160 persons have been shifted to camps. Each family in the camp has been given Rs 2000 as relief.
An alert has been sounded at areas in the high ranges of the district that are vulnerable to landslides After the onset of the monsoon on June 1, the district has received 809.6 mm rain till last week. While the normal rainfall is only 439.6 mm, there has been a 84 per cent rise.
Ration office in precarious condition
The city rationing office near North Railway station on the second floor and frequented by at least 100 people daily is flooded because of the leaky roofs and glass pane-less windows. The walls are damp. The computer and the camera used for taking photographs of those applying for ration cards has an umbrella over it, usually one belonging to any of the 16 staff working in the office.
The office became operational in the building way back in 1991 and since then there has been no maintenance. “Maintenance has to be done by the Kochi Corporation. But nothing has been done so far,” says an official busy drawing a plastic sheet over the files as the rains splattered through the window.
The damp walls are dangerous and the electric wiring can be lead to short circuit in an office where public presence is very high, he adds. It could also damage the camera and computer. Things began to turn for the worse after the piling work for the Kochi Metro began nearby. Parts of the roof and wall plaster give way and have fallen on some of the staff.
There are six women staff in the office and since there are no restrooms, they have to depend on those at the railway station nearby.