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Residents demand steps to save Indrani rivulet

Staff Correspondent
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The lifeline of Kalmady and Kodavoor under threat

A FIGHT AGAINST pollution: Residents of Kodavoor and Kalmady areas staging a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office in Udupi on Monday.
A FIGHT AGAINST pollution: Residents of Kodavoor and Kalmady areas staging a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office in Udupi on Monday.

Residents of Kalmady and Kodavoor areas took out a “padayatra” and staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office here on Monday demanding immediate action to stop pollution of the Indrani rivulet.

In a memorandum addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, the residents said the Indrani rivulet (also called Kalmady rivulet) was being used by farmers for agriculture and fishermen for fishing since long.

This rivulet used to benefit the people in Kodavoor, Kalmady, Nittoor, Kodankoor, Jennagady, Moodabettu, Bottal, Pandubettu and surrounding areas. Farmers used to grow three crops a year, besides vegetables.

Because of the efforts of the then Malpe Mandal Panchayat, a salt water exclusion dam-cum-mini bridge against the Indrani rivulet was built in 1999.

The objective of the dam was to provide irrigation and connect Kodavoor with Malpe–Agumbe State Highway.

Till 10 years ago, the region had sweet water up to the Kalmady dam and nearly 500 families benefitted from it. But ever since the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) took up the Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment Management Project (KUDCEMP) 10 years ago, the underground drainage system of the CMC had failed. Consequently, the sewage was discharged into the rivulet.

This had polluted the rivulet and the sewage had been accumulating near the Kalmady dam. The stench in the Kalmady and Kodavoor areas was unbearable. The region had become a mosquito-breeding centre. People suffered from malaria, asthma, cold, cough and rashes on their skin. Since the rivulet became polluted, all the wells in the surrounding areas got contaminated.

The well water now could not even be used for washing clothes. Merely touching the water caused skin problems.

Many people suffered from nausea because of the continuous foul smell. Students found it difficult to concentrate on studies. At the root of the problem was the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) of the CMC at Nittoor that does not work. Instead of the sewage getting treated at the STP, it was straight away flowing into the rivulet. Hence the Deputy Commissioner should inspect the area and take steps to stop the pollution of the rivulet, the memorandum added.

Sampa Poojary, Kishan Thingalaya, Prashanth Kalmady, Mahabala Kundar, Prakash Kodavoor, former MLA U.R. Sabhapathi and Congress leader Pramod Madhwaraj, were present.

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