The rejuvenation of the Kuttamperoor river in Alappuzha has been completed. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will make an official declaration in this regard on April 11.
Slow death to resurrection
The 7.2-km waterbody, a tributary of the Pampa and Achencoil rivers, died a slow death around 2005 due to years of waste dumping, encroachments and other anthropogenic activities. Its resurrection was made possible over a period of six years through public participation and government intervention.
The Major Irrigation department, as part of reviving the river, removed encroachments, deepened the channel and constructed bunds on both sides. “The rejuvenated river has a width of 50 m. Though the government had sanctioned an amount of ₹15.7 crore for the project, we completed the work for ₹13 crore,” said an official of the Major Irrigation department.
The Kuttamperoor river emanates from the Achencoil river at Ulunthy and meanders through Bhudhanoor, Chennithala and Mannar grama panchayats before joining the Pampa river at Kadampur (Illimala). The efforts behind its comeback to life are sure to inspire similar projects in the future.
A lifeline rejuvenated
Once a lifeline for the region by providing water for drinking and irrigating large tracts of paddy fields and transporting goods, Kuttamperoor has been reduced to a drain and died almost two decades ago. The 100-m river had shrunk to less than 15 m at many locations due to encroachments, and its poor state resulted in wells drying up in several places.
The initial effort to revive the river was made in 2011, but it took another five years to get the project rolling. Led by Budhanoor panchayat, the first round of cleaning was carried out by a large number of workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme. It took around two months to clean up the river by removing water weeds, plastic and other waste. Later, the State government took over the project. A number of residents along the river provided land for the river project. The restoration of water flow has brought many freshwater fish species back to the river and is expected to help control floods in the region.
The river restoration project made headlines when Prime Narendra Modi mentioned about it in a Mann Ki Baat programme. The project also found a place in the Class VIII CBSE textbook.
Boost to tourism
Officials said the revival of the river would boost tourism in the region. The river will be linked to Mannar- Chengannur- Aranmula heritage tourism project.
The river dedication programme will be held at Kuttemperoor Devi Temple ground near Mannar at 3 p.m. Former Budhanoor grama panchayat president P. Viswambhara Panicker who spearheaded the rejuvenation project will be honoured at the function. Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian will preside..