‘A bund on the seaward side of the vented dam left three houses damaged’

It was the delay in providing a retaining wall as part of the construction of the Maravoor vented dam that caused the damage to houses, lands and a road in Padushedde area on the banks of the Gurupura river, it emerged on Tuesday.

The flash floods following heavy rains on Sunday washed away several coconut trees and other plants being grown by residents and the road they were using to reach nearby bridge on the Mangalore-Bajpe Road. People are forced to take a circuitous route via Bondel.

The water level rose in the early hours of Monday suddenly and started to flow close to the houses causing erosion of land and entered plantations and damaged the road. Residents allege that authorities did not take steps to prevent the flash floods and pointed out that blocks because of construction of the vended dam were to blame. The houses of Oswald, John Francis D’Souza, and Estine D’Souaza took a beating. Major damage was caused to Mr. Oswald’s house. The three families were busy shifting their household articles when The Hindu visited the site on Tuesday.

Alvin D’Souza told The Hindu at Padushedde that he had ancestral property of one acre with coconut palms and other plants. The plants were washed away. He said he had met zilla panchayat officials about a month ago and urged them to take precautionary steps to prevent flooding.

The Maravoor vented dam is being constructed to supply drinking water to Bajpe and surrounding areas. Construction of retaining wall to protect the houses and lands was part of the scheme. Zilla Panchayat Executive Engineer Satyanarayana told The Hindu that there was a delay in getting approval for the retaining wall. The project provided for construction of such walls wherever water pressure could be more. The area abutting the houses was identified for construction of the retention wall. The approval was secured only on May 14 and the same contractor building the vented dam was asked to build the wall as well. The officer said the houses suffered damage even before the work could begin.

Mr. Satyanarayna said a bund on the seaward side of the dam had affected free flow of water causing damage to the houses. The bund, a heap of loose earth, was created while laying “apron” – an underground concrete structure on the seaward side that is built to ensure that sea water did not mix with the sweet water of the river when drinking water supply begins. A part of the bund was washed away.

He said officials had taken steps to ensure free flow of water by clearing the blockages. Efforts would be made to provide for a road so that Padushedde households got easy access to the Maravoor Bridge and beyond.

The three affected families were shifted to houses in Kavoor, Bondel, and Marakada. Residents were upset that they were forced to leave an area in which they had been living for decades. “Who will bear our losses?” asked Rufina, a niece of Mr. Oswald.

More In: Mangaluru