Acres of Kottuli wetlands may soon be a thing of past

Large-scale filling of wetlands under way despite frequent complaints

Updated - March 21, 2016 05:41 am IST

Published - March 21, 2016 12:00 am IST

A portion of the wetland being filled by private land owners for commercial purposes at Kottuli in Kozhikode.– Photo: K. Ragesh

A portion of the wetland being filled by private land owners for commercial purposes at Kottuli in Kozhikode.– Photo: K. Ragesh

cres of wetlands in Kottuli and surrounding areas are on the verge of extinction with the rampant filling works under way evading the eyes of the local government bodies and the revenue authorities. To escape from the public ire, most of the filling works are being carried out late night with the loads of soil mined from distant locations of the city.

Revenue officials, who are supposed to keep tab on the illegal land development works in restricted areas, are hardly concerned of the issue as most of them have been busy with the arrangements ahead of the Assembly elections. Complaints reportedly filed in some of the village offices are also remaining ignored.

Environmental activists from the area reveal that the work is carried out with the backup of some of the prominent political leaders and the city Corporation. “Even after the local residents communicated their resentment, there was no change in the attitude and land encroachment,” they said.

Wetlands close to the Canolly Canal in several areas have already been filled for building construction purposes after obtaining permission from the city Corporation. According to sources, the developed land is for building godowns for private companies to procure their stock.

K.V. Pramod, secretary of Yuvadhara, a Kottuli-based youth forum, said the residents in the area were helpless to prevent the land developers because of their influence on the power centres. “Now, the wetland area is a huge storage area of city’s drinking water, which will shortly dry up with the rampant filling works,” he adds.

As a token of resistance, Yuvadhara workers, including men and women, will stage a protest in front of the filled area holding footwear in two days. Mr. Pramod says the protest will be an eye opener for the revenue officials and the corporation authorities who feign ignorance on the issue.

V.P. Ramakrishnan, an environmental organisation worker from the city, said the scientific studies earlier conducted by the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management had clearly made it clear that the extinction of Kottuli wetlands would adversely affect the potable water sources of the city. “It is sad that we have no proper mechanism to expose illegal players in the sector during election time,” he rued.

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