The long wait for residents of Kurumbanmoozhy and Arayanjilimon, which get isolated for weeks on end during the monsoons, is finally over with the authorities all set to commence works on the iron foot bridges across the Pampa.
According to Pramod Narayan, MLA, the State government has accorded the final sanction for constructing iron foot bridges that will connect the settlements here to the world outside during the rainy seasons. An expert team from the Steel Industrials Kerala Limited, a State-owned PSU, visited these locations and prepared the estimates earlier last year.
The 104-meter-long bridge at Kurumbanmoozhy, to be constructed at a cost of ₹3.97 crore, will be 90-meters wide. The bridge at Arayanjilimon, to be constructed by the Public Works Department at a cost of ₹2.7 crore, will be 83-meter long and 1.30-meter wide.
Surrounded by forests on three sides and the Pampa river on the other side, these villages are connected to the world outside through the causeways across the river. During the monsoons, however, these causeways mostly remain sub-merged in the floodwaters, cutting them off from the mainland. Emergency evacuations from these villages during such periods are carried out generally with the help of the NDRF or the fire and rescue department.
Official sources attributed the recurring floods in the region to the silt brought about by the 2018 floods, which effectively lowered the height of the causeways. The construction of a hydroelectric project at Perumthenaruvi, a few 100 metres downstream the Kurumbanmoozhy causeway, and the resultant accumulation of soil and debris too have contributed to the deluge.
The two settlements together accommodate about 400 families and about half of them belong to the Scheduled Tribe category.
Earlier, the Ranni legislator had brought the plight of the villagers here, who remain trapped in the settlement for days on end during the monsoons, to the attention of Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes K. Radhakrishnan.