The riverbed of now dried-up Kousika river, which used to nourish several parts of Coimbatore, has become a dumping site at Idigarai town panchayat.
Environmental enthusiasts, who undertook a nature walk in the area a few days ago, found garbage dumped on the riverbed at the town panchayat.
According to them, garbage piled up on both sides for nearly 160 metres. The riverbed is also being used to move vehicles to dump garbage. Considering the amount of waste dumped along the riverbed, the activity could have been going on for a very long time, they said.
The local body has placed a board which reads ‘Valam Meetpu Poonga’ at the dumping site suggesting that the area has been using for waste segregation and compost making.
“Turning the riverbed into a dumping site shows clear negligence and disregard for the conservation of Nature by the town panchayat. The large-scale dumping attests that Revenue Department officials, who interfere and stop the common people when they remove earth for even small construction activities, remained silent spectators for this gross violation,” alleged P.K. Selvaraj of Athikadavu Kousika River Development Association, who has been taking up various efforts for the revival of the river.
An official from Idigarai town panchayat said the local body does not have a dump yard or garbage disposal facility. “The town panchayat has already taken up the issue to the attention of the government. Request for a dump yard for the town panchayat was also submitted to the Chief Minister during his recent visit to Coimbatore,” said the official.
According to the official, at least two acres will be required for a dump yard for the town panchayat. The Valam Meetpu Poonga was set up at the place for the segregation of plastic, paper waste, and other recyclable items which are being collected by an agency, the official said.
Mr. Selvaraj said that Kousika River has its origin at Kurudi Malai, near Narasimhanaickenpalayam, in Coimbatore district. The 52-km river flowed through over 20 Panchayats and town panchayats, including Idigarai, Kovilpalayam, Vagarayampalayam and Thekalur before its confluence with River Noyyal near Vanjipalayam in Tiruppur district.
“Water flow was reported upto Kovilpalayam six years ago,” said Mr. Selvaraj, expressing his hope that the river may see a revival under the Avinashi Athikadavu Groundwater Recharge Scheme - II.
Coimbatore District Collector G.S. Sameeran said that he will look into the issue.