Urgent steps needed to save Kallai bridge, say greens

Environmentalists, locals and students on a study tour through the Kallai river in Kozhikode on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

A group of environmentalists has called for the immediate intervention of authorities to save the bridge across the Kallai river in Kozhikode. They found the bridge weak due to lack of care and repair during the first phase of a study tour organised on Tuesday, under the banner of the All Kerala River Protection Committee.

The group of around 70 persons, including locals, fishermen, students and environmentalists, travelled upstream, starting from the Kothi bridge at the river mouth up to Kaduppini, assessing the condition of the river and analysing the extent of damage to the bridge. A report prepared by the group will soon be submitted to the District Collector.

The concrete from the bridge had fallen off in most parts and banyan saplings had grown in every crack, weakening the structure, said T.V. Rajan, general secretary of the committee, who led the group.

The fishing boats in which the group travelled encountered hurdles in the form of garbage deposited in the river, building waste and plastic. “The remains of the old Kallai bridge is still present underneath the water. At Kaduppini, there are tree stumps obstructing the flow of water,” said Mr. Rajan. He said such obstructions and the large mangroves in the middle of the river were causing the formation of mud bunds that gradually turned into land mass, affecting the natural flow of water.

“There is a bund at Kunnathu Palam, which is not needed any more because there is no paddy cultivation here at present. But, encroachers do not want it to be removed as it protects them from the high tide as well as several Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms,” he said.

The quality of the river water is also being studied. The water, which is mostly black in colour, is so polluted that people depending on the river for their livelihood were found to have developed skin allergies.

Environmentalist T. Shobheendran inaugurated the study tour. He said various water sources that originated from the Cherukulathur hill ranges should be protected while the Kallai river and its banks should be measured and protected based on litho maps. Irrigation department Executive Engineer Mohan G. flagged off the tour.

The second phase of the study tour will be held from Kaduppini to Kunnathupalam after a week and the third phase will be from Kunnathupalam to Kannaochinnam bridge. A tour on foot will also be undertaken to the source of the river.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:21:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/urgent-steps-needed-to-save-kallai-bridge-say-greens/article37890832.ece

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