Coimbatore

Flood-hit Kalhatti residents seek action against unregulated farming, construction 

The destruction caused by recent floods and rock-fall at Kalhatti in Udhagamandalam destroyed pathways, damaged homes and impacted livelihoods.

The destruction caused by recent floods and rock-fall at Kalhatti in Udhagamandalam destroyed pathways, damaged homes and impacted livelihoods. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Unregulated farming along the slopes of Kalhatti and encroachments on a stream bed contributed to the flooding and rock-fall that almost led to a huge disaster in Kalhatti village near Udhagamandalam after a recent spell of heavy rain, local residents allege.

On April 9, heavy rain along Kalhatti had led to a stream running down the slope flooding, bringing rock and debris into the village and its residences. Fortunately, there was no loss of life from the incident as the rain ceased before heavy damage could be done to the residents’ houses. However, the incident led to crop damage and has made many of the village’s most vulnerable residents feel unsafe.

Jaya Peter, a resident who is farming on around an acre of land in the village, said she lost almost ₹ 1.5 lakh she had invested in carrot farming due to the flood. She said the incident was a warning that unless urgent steps were taken to restore the stream, such incidents could recur with even more serious consequences. “Till a few years ago, the stream was free of any encroachments. However, with more people taking to farming along the slopes, the stream has gradually been encroached on, while a small patch of forest further up the slope, that used to help regulate water flow was also chopped down as it lay in a private property,” said Ms. Peter.

 The destruction caused by recent floods and rock-falls at Kalhatti in Udhagamandalam destroyed pathways, damaged homes and impacted livelihoods.

The destruction caused by recent floods and rock-falls at Kalhatti in Udhagamandalam destroyed pathways, damaged homes and impacted livelihoods. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Vijaya, another resident, said the residents, many of whom had houses just a few feet away from the stream, feared another flood could wash away their houses if no urgent action was taken. “The footpaths have already been washed away. We want the district administration to immediately measure the flow of water through the stream and ensure that any encroachments are removed,” said Ms. Vijaya.

Following the incident on April 9, District Collector S.P. Amrith visited the area and assured assistance to local residents. The residents, who had lived along the slopes for many decades, said that this was the first time that such an incident had occurred in the village. They feared that unregulated construction and agriculture further up the Kalhatti slopes were putting them and their livelihoods at risk.


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Printable version | Jun 9, 2022 11:49:05 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/flood-hit-kalhatti-residents-seek-action-against-unregulated-farming-construction/article65466463.ece