Drought mitigation plan prepared in 2004 yet to be implemented

The district, which is reeling under acute drought with its rivers, dams, and ponds almost drying up, is paying the price for not implementing the ‘Master Plan for Drought Mitigation in Palakkad District,’ prepared by the Centre for Water Resource Development and Management (CWRDM) in 2004.

When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy arrives here on Friday to review the drought situation, farmers intend to highlight the lapse on the part of the district administration and the departments such as Water Resources, Water Authority, Irrigation, and Agriculture in implementing the plan.

Muthalamthode Mani, general secretary of Desheeya Karshaka Samajam, told The Hindu here on Thursday that the plan, formulated in consultation with the farmers and other stakeholders, were not implemented by the successive District Collectors and the departments. There was no action plan to tackle drought, which had become an annual phenomenon in Palakkad, he said. If the government had implemented the 2004 plan, the district would not have faced such a crisis, he added.

In his preface to the master plan, the then District Collector Sanjeev Kaushik wrote that “rapid-fire action needs to be taken, involving several departments across the district. Although each department official had his own micro view in his particular sphere, there was an astonishing lack of planning and coordination for drought mitigation.”

The former Chittur MLA and a leading farmer K. Krishnankutty urged Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to implement the plan. He said when 14 districts of Gujarat faced drought in 2004 they acted soon and now none of those districts had water problems.

The master plan had recommended a task force and a River Authority for Bharathapuzha. Both are yet to be constituted.

  • Plan was prepared by CWRDM

  • It suggested a river authority for Bharatapuzha