Staff Reporter

Palliyoda Seva Sanghom moves High Court

  • District Collector stayed the work a few days ago
  • Conspiracy against conduct of `vallamkali' alleged

    PATHANAMTHITTA: The Major Irrigation Department recently dumped a few lorry loads of rubble in the Pampa river at Maramon, near Kozhencherry, kicking up a row as the Aranmula Vallamkali, the annual snake-boat regatta, will be held on September 9.

    District Collector Ashok Kumar Singh stayed the work a few days ago on a complaint from K.G. Sasidharan Pillai, president of the Palliyoda Seva Sanghom, organisers of the regatta. Mr. Singh said he would convene a meeting of the parties concerned on Tuesday to solve the issue.

    Mr. Pillai alleged that the rubble was dumped as part of a "conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the smooth conduct of the Vallamkali.'' It posed a threat to the wooden boats.

    According to Stephen Thomas, Assistant Executive Engineer of the department, and Binu Baby, Assistant Engineer, 500 cubic feet of rubble has been piled up along the riverbanks to strengthen the retaining wall on the Maramon side.

    The Ministry of Water Resources sanctioned the work in 2005, as the department submitted a project report.

    Construction of a granite protection wall on the riverbed at Maramon in 1998 and its partial demolition by anti-social elements later created a social divide in this peaceful area, leading to communal tension.

    The wall midstream divided the river, making it resemble a canal, especially during summer. The unscientific construction raised the velocity of the water flow, and strong undercurrents eroded sand.

    Experts' opinion

    Experts said the wall did much damage to the riverbed, instead of protecting the sand deposit.

    The sanghom has been complaining that the structure hinders movement of the snake boats along the narrow river course.

    The sanghom, an apex body of 40-odd karas (rustic areas) in and around Aranmula, have moved the Kerala High Court against the Major Irrigation Department's venture.