Rain, gale wreck tribal settlement

One of the dwellings at Chinnarpathi tribal settlement near Aliyar that was damaged in heavy rain and gale on Friday night.   | Photo Credit: SPL

When heavy rain started to lash Aliyar near Pollachi on Friday evening, young couple Suresh and Sangeetha from Chinnarpathi tribal settlement prepared for a tough journey.

Along with other families, the couple carried their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Pournika and embarked on a trek through the jungle to an alternative dwelling which had been home to their ancestors for years – the caves.

“The dwellings made of bamboo, tarpaulin and tin sheets barely withstand heavy rain and wind. Elderly people anticipated a heavy spell at night and the majority of them sought shelter in the caves before heavy rain and gale hit the settlement. They returned to the settlement early on Saturday, only to find completely damaged dwellings,” said V.S. Paramasivam, Coimbatore district president of Tamil Nadu Tribal Association.

Mr. Paramasivam was one of the outsiders who reached out to the families on Saturday morning.

Located around two km from Aliyar and around 70 km. off Coimbatore, Chinnarpathi on the banks of the river Chinnar comes under the limit of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Of the 43 families at the settlement, dwellings of eight families were completely damaged in the rain and gale. Other dwellings were partially damaged.

“Chinnarparthi and several other tribal settlements in ATR face the same plight every year. In August 2019, dwellings of 24 families from Nagaroothu settlement were damaged in a flash flood and a two-and-a-half-year-old child was washed away. Though the then Valparai MLA assured to arrange proper housing for the families, the promise was never kept. We appeal to the new government to take war footing measures to improve the lives of the tribal families,” Mr. Paramasivam said.

Pollachi forest range officer V. Pugalendhi said that 24 persons, whose dwellings were damaged, were shifted to a nearby marriage hall on Saturday. Valparai MLA Amul Kandasamy visited the settlement on Saturday.

According to the district administration, Valparai taluk witnessed heavy rain on Friday evening as 63 mm of rainfall was recorded as of Saturday morning. Pollachi received about 17 mm of rainfall.

Many localities within Coimbatore Corporation limits also witnessed moderate to heavy rain on Friday night, which led to inundation of a few low lying areas. Coimbatore Airport received 8.2 mm of rainfall, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University 9 mm and Coimbatore South saw 10 mm of rainfall.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 1:39:19 AM |

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