Operation Breakthrough: Kochi’s Battle Against Waterlogging

In the coastal city of Kochi, a special initiative known as Operation Breakthrough continues to transform the landscape and narrative of the city’s struggle against waterlogging. This urban flood mitigation project, which was launched in 2019 on election day, has made significant strides, but it also continues to confront tough challenges. This determined group overcame almost overwhelming odds. They cleaned waste-clogged canals with speed and resolve, allowing a rush of water to flow unhindered. They reversed the tide on waterlogging in only 2-3 hours, saving the city’s highways from becoming waterways.

What is ‘Operation Breakthrough’?

Operation Breakthrough was devised in response to the city’s constant struggle with waterlogging, which often brought life to a halt. The primary objective is to reduce waterlogging by combining numerous government agencies such as the Public Works Department (PWD), the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Revenue, Fire & Rescue, Irrigation, and the Corporation. This multi-agency strategy aims to provide effective and sustainable water management in a metropolis where urban life and natural components coexist on a daily basis.

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How does ‘Operation Breakthrough’ work? 

The initiative has shown significant success, particularly after yesterday’s rains in Kochi. It entailed cleaning sewers and canals, eliminating impediments, and improving the city’s drainage system. This joint effort has allowed water to flow freely to water streams, preventing streets from becoming rivers after heavy rains. The effects of yesterday’s severe rains in Kochi were visible, with considerable decreases in waterlogging issues with the initiative. 

The Road to Success and the challenges ahead

However, there are several challenges surrounding Operation Breakthrough. Critics have pointed out that several phases of the project were missing crucial functions, and it suffered delays in 2021, raising concerns about the effectiveness of its measures. A silt barrier was one such impediment to its development. Recent events, such as authorities’ quick response and successful avoidance of waterlogging in under two hours during yesterday’s severe rains, have proven the effectiveness of Operation Breakthrough. This victory demonstrates that with the correct strategy and committed leadership, even the most mighty obstacles can be handled. However, what they want is a rallying cry for the people of Kochi. The waterways and drains, according to officers, are marred by plastic and food waste but are vital conduits for the free flow of water. The officers have sounded the alarm – it’s time for citizens to be vigilant.

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What’s happening now?

Despite challenges, the project has shown tenacity, and a WhatsApp group called the ‘Flood Monitoring Committee,’ which has 16 members, has played an important part in its success. They swiftly reported roadblocks and difficulties, allowing authorities to respond quickly.

As the name implies, Operation Breakthrough aims to break free from the shackles of waterlogging that have held Kochi hostage for years. In a metropolis where nature’s wrath frequently collides with human civilization, the success of this project promises not just short-term respite but also long-term resilience. This introduction sets the tone for a more in-depth examination of the project’s aims, accomplishments, and upcoming problems.

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