Foundation stone laid for park near Bhavani Kattalai Barrage-II

Just two weeks after seven members of two families were washed away in the river Cauvery near the barrage at Odapalli near Pallipalayam in Namakkal district, the spot was in focus again.

A picnic spot is to be developed barely 200 feet from where these people were swept to a watery grave. Realising that people were drawn to this scenic location along the river, the district authorities have decided to create a recreation facility, but with adequate safeguards that will prevent the recurrence of the January 8 tragedy.

“While these accidents occurred downstream [of the barrage], a park is to be established upstream where there is no chance for sudden or drastic increase in the water level,” says R. Selvaraj, Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department – Water Resources Organisation, Sarabanga Basin Division – Namakkal.

By June this year, tourists and people from Namakkal and Erode districts can enjoy the beauty of the river and the expansive Bhavani Kattalai Barrage-II (BKB-II).

The park will be established on 1.34 acres at Rs.60 lakh on a public-private partnership. The foundation for the park was laid by Industries Minister P. Thangamani on Saturday. He said that it had a public contribution of Rs.13 lakh and government contribution of Rs.26 lakh while the rest would be funded by the PWD. The park will have a lawn, play equipment for children, fountains and footpath.

“Safety measures are given prime importance and for this purpose the banks of the river will be raised to a safe height from the course of the river, after which a fence will be erected at a safe distance from the river,” Mr. Selvaraj says.

Other safety measures have also been taken downstream with nearly 10 warning signs put up on either side of the river and sirens installed atop the barrage to caution people on the risks, especially during the release of water.

“There will be water for a stretch of more than 500 ft along the banks and for the entire width of the barrage that runs for more than 980 ft to serve as a visual treat to the visitors throughout the year. That is why this site was chosen for the recreation facility,” he adds.