Residents complain of nausea, skin allergy, headaches

The foul smell emanating from the dark and dirty waters of the Indrani rivulet leaves you nauseating. Nearly 500 families of Kalmady in the city have been living with the stench for about a decade now.

The rivulet, which flows from Kalsanka upstream, winds down through Bannanje, Nittur, Kodavoor, Kalmady and finally joins the sea. A salt water vented dam-cum-bridge was built near the Bhagawati Marikamba Temple at Kalmady in 1999.

The residents allege that sewage discharged into the rivulet had polluted it, and accumulation of this sewage at the dam was creating health problems for them.

Priscilla D’Silva, a retired Syndicate Bank employee, said that the bad smell from the rivulet created giddiness and allergic reactions to skin. “We have been suffering for more than eight years. We have complained several times to the Udupi City Municipal Council but nothing has happened,” she said.

It is poll issue in the Kodavoor municipal ward under which Kalmady comes. Chandravati S. Kotian, the BJP candidate, said that her house was located in the affected area. “It is difficult for people to bear the smell. The Congress is blaming us (the BJP) for the problem. It is one of the election issues here. I will try my best to solve it if I win,” she said.

Meenakshi M. Bannanje, the Congress candidate for the ward and former councillor who represented the ward, could not be reached despite several attempts. However, Janardhan Bhandarkar, a local Congress leader, said that the untreated water from the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Nittur was being released into the rivulet. “If our party wins, we will take it up as a priority,” he said.

But everybody doesn’t buy it. Madhava Thingalaya, a resident, said children in his house vomit because of the smell. “Our pleas to the CMC to solve the problem have yielded no response,” he said

Ammi Picardo, a homemaker, said that wells in the area had got contaminated because of the pollution of the rivulet. “The water was so polluted that a couple of days ago dead fish were floating on it. The well water is so contaminated that we do not even use it at all,” she said.

It was not always like this. “About 13 years ago, the water was so clean that people used to catch fish and swim in the stream,” said Theresa Dias, a homemaker. CMC Commissioner Gokuldas Nayak said the CMC had checked its wet wells and STP and there was no leakage. “We have asked the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to check the water in the rivulet. The testing process requires five days,” he said.

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