Faulty design of the vented dam blamed for the flooding of a private areca farm at Karopady
Farmers with land on the Karnataka side of the Anekallu Hole at Karopady village fear that the dam breach last week would only get worse when the monsoon intensifies.
Last Monday, the force of the water in Anekallu Hole breached a retaining wall that washed away nearly an acre of Kunhi Ahmed's areca farm at Karopady village in Bantwal taluk. The stream flows through Karnataka and at Varkady gram panchayat in Kasaragod district of Kerala.
Heavy rain washed away a part of the 100-metre retaining wall that leads up to the vented dam, and the river now flows into Mr. Ahmed's land.
The Hindu team saw a few areca palms, still held fast by their roots; lie flattened across the flowing muddy water.
Mr. Ahmed's relative A.K. Umar said they had lost around 400 areca palms which included some young plants that had not yet grown to their full size. He said that the State government should give them some compensation where the Varkady panchayat should construct at least a temporary retaining wall to prevent the flowing water from eroding the land further.
Mr. Umar and his neighbours said that the design of the dam had caused the breach. Divakar, who lives across the river in Kerala, said the water carried a lot of debris which blocked the flow of water through the vents, leading to the breach. There were only three small openings, one each on either sides and one in the centre through which the water could normally flow.
Mr. Umar, a member of the Karopady Gram Panchayat, said that the dam did not have a “No Objection Certificate” from the panchayat but the Varkady panchayat claimed that the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada had given them permission.
Asked about the alleged lack of permission to build the dam, Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda said he had spoken to the Secretary of the Irrigation Department and would soon write to the officer. The government of Karnataka would take up the matter with the Kerala government, he added. He said that the Karnataka government would give whatever compensation was possible and also try to get compensation from the Kerala government.
Engineers from the Department of Minor Irrigation visited the vented dam across the Anekallu Hole on Monday and said that they would submit a report to the Karnataka government which would then take action under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act 1956.
Executive Engineer of the Mangalore Division C.N. Venkatesh said that the gap between the vents was nearly half of the norm in Karnataka.