Local issues hog the limelight in Puthenvelikkara

It bore the brunt of two floods, and many were left homeless

A host of issues affecting the daily lives of the electorate has turned the battle for Puthenvelikkara panchayat into a keen tussle.

The region bore the brunt of two successive floods since 2018, and many were left homeless after they faced the furious waters from the Chalakudypuzha and the Periyar.

A traditional stronghold of the Congress for long, the civic body was governed by the party with a mere lead of one seat in the 17-ward council following the 2015 election. The LDF hopes that the anti-incumbency factor may turn the tide in their favour this time. However, the Congress leadership remains confident of retaining its sway over the voters for the fourth consecutive time.

“We were able to resolve the drinking water issue by setting up a direct feeder line from the Puthenvelikkara pumping station to meet the needs of the people. The panchayat had deposited ₹2.38 crore with the Kerala Water Authority, and the project is in its last phase. Two overhead tanks were installed at Manancherrykunnu and Kodikuthiyakunnu,” claimed P.V. Laju, president of the outgoing council.

On post-flood restoration work, Mr. Laju said that 300 houses were constructed for those who had lost shelter in the floods under the government’s LIFE Mission project and by utilising the Punarjani programme launched by V.D. Satheesan, MLA. “We also bought four motorised boats and two country craft to rescue people living in low-lying regions in case of an emergency,” he added.

But M.P. Jose, Opposition Leader, alleged that the Congress-led council was a failure, as it did nothing to improve basic infrastructure and could not utilise funds available for development. “The panchayat has not yet allotted land for the college under the Institute of Human Resource Development, and it continues to function from a rented building. The development of the taluk hospital was also hit following shortage of doctors,” he said.

Mr. Jose said that the council was not able to repair the damaged shutters of the Kanakkankadavu regulator-cum-bridge, resulting in salinity incursion. Despite tall claims, the drinking water issue has not been solved fully, he added.

The Congress has fielded candidates in all the wards, while the CPI(M) has shared six of the 17 wards with its alliance partner CPI.

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