Chirakkal Chira to get a fresh lease of life soon

Desilting of Chirakkal Chira in progress in Kannur.

Desilting of Chirakkal Chira in progress in Kannur.  

Dredging work to desilt one of the biggest man-made tanks in Asia under way

Constructed over three centuries ago, the Chirakkal Chira, said to be one of the biggest man-made tanks in Asia, is all set to get a fresh lease of life.

The dredging work to desilt the Chira began recently with a large number of people gathering around the Chira, which was completely dried after the water was pumped out.

It turned out to be exciting as people took turns to catch fish from the Chira. However, for many others, the cleaning of the Chira had been a long-pending demand, which is finally getting materialised.

About 318 metres long and 150 metres wide, the Chira is spread over 14.70 acres. The private tank is owned by Chirakkal Kovilakam. It can serve as a huge reservoir and help increase the water table in the region. However, lack of maintenance and continuous inflow of drainage water polluted the Chira, said Ravindra Varma Raja, a member of Chirakkal Kovilakam. “It was not possible for the family to maintain the tank,” he added. However, the Kovilakam also did not want to hand it over to the government.

Though the panchayat was in talks with Chirakkal family members since 2016, the project to clean the tank was submitted two years ago and the Irrigation Department took over the work to dredge it, said A. Soman, president, Chirakkal Panchayat. It was a long-pending demand of people to clean the Chira and make it a reservoir or use it for drinking purposes. But since it was a private tank, there was difficulty in sanctioning government fund for dredging work, he said. But the funds were finally approved considering the importance of the facility.

Sindhu, Assistant Engineer, Irrigation Department, said that a fund of over ₹2 crore had been sanctioned for dredging and other works. Permission had been given to remove silt of upto 80 centimetres in depth. Besides, parapet would be constructed around the tank to prevent drain water entering it. The work had been awarded to a private contractor and it would take about a year’s time. However, the contractor had been instructed to complete the dredging work before the monsoon, she added.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:25:21 AM |

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