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People prevent bid to breach estuary

Special Correspondent
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Breaching of Kappil estuary will lead to depletion of water sources

People standing guard at the Kappil estuary to prevent it from being breached.
People standing guard at the Kappil estuary to prevent it from being breached.

Tension prevailed at the Kappil estuary point of the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram coastal border when people from Paravur, Kappil and other nearby areas arrived in large numbers to resist attempts by a group of men to breach the estuary.

The men arrived at the estuary in five fishing vessels in the guise of fishermen and began to manually breach the estuary. It was an attempt to bring down the water level in the Paravur lake, the people of the area alleged. Leaders of the CPI(M) and the DYFI arrived at the scene and took side with the people.

The police intervened and brought the situation under control. But a group of people are now standing guard and maintaining vigil at the estuary to prevent any attempt to breach it.

The local people allege that tourist operators and shrimp farm owners based around the Paravur lake were behind the move.

The Kappil and Nadayara lakes open out into the sea through the Kappil estuary and they are linked to the Paravur lake through the Maniyamkulam canal. The Paravur lake is fed by the Ithikara river.

For repairs, after a gap of 20 years, the shutters of the Paravur lake spillway were closed this year. This prevented the lake’s water from flowing into the sea through the Paravur estuary during summer and also prevented saline water intrusion into the lake from the sea through the same estuary. It resulted in a lake’s water level going up but the excess water too could not flow into the sea because of the formation of a natural bar across the estuary. This in turn resulted in people at many surrounding panahayats and the Paravur town experiencing no water scarcity for the first time in 18 years during this summer season as their wells and other water sources got swelled.

At the same time, many new projects, like tourism and shrimp farms, that came up around the lake during the past 18 years by reclaiming portions of the lake got flooded. The owners of these projects made an attempt last week to mechanically breach the estuary. But the people of the area prevented it since it will result in their water sources getting depleted if the water level of the lake drops.

It is when the attempt to breach the Paravur estuary failed, an attempt was made to breach the Kappil estuary on Saturday. If the estuaries are breached the water from the three lakes will simply rush into the sea since all the three lakes are full. The people of the area said the estuary will get naturally breached during the monsoon. If that does not happen, they will allow the estuaries to be breached at that time, they said.

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