Kerala

Outcry strengthens to save the Bharathapuzha

With the broken Cochin Bridge lying in disuse, a large part of the Bharathapuzha is being choked at Cheruthuruthy, near Ottappalam.   | Photo Credit: By Arrangement

Nature lovers in Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram districts are raising an outcry for saving the Bharathapuzha, the State’s second longest river after the Periyar. The outcry will echo on the banks of the river as they celebrate World Rivers Day on Sunday.

The demand for the formation of an authority with judicial powers to conserve the Bharathapuzha has increased since celebrated technocrat E. Sreedharan raised it sometime ago. The government is yet to respond to the demand.

“It is sad to see the Bharathapuzha turning into one of the most polluted rivers in the State. The pollution becomes the worst when the river reaches Pattambi, from where the water is pumped to 17 nearby villages,” said Rajan Chungath, vice president of the Friends of Bharathapuzha (FOB), an organisation that works for the conservation of the river.

Dr. Rajan said that although there are several government bodies to take care of the river, including the Departments of Irrigation and Agriculture and the Kerala Water Authority, none had displayed any responsibility in saving the river from degradation.

The FOB, headed by Mr. Sreedharan, has been pressing for the appointment of an authority to save the Bharathapuzha. “The Dal Lake of Kashmir is there before us as a great example. We can salvage this great river in the same way,” said Dr. Rajan.

The Nila Vichara Vedi, another vibrant group working for the conservation of the river, has raised its concern over the uncontrolled sand-mining currently taking place in the Bharathapuzha under the guise of silt removal.

“What we have at the check-dams and regulators of Shoranur, Velliyamkallu and Chenganamkunnu is not dirt or silt, but sand. The sand is being mined without any sand auditing in the Bharathapuzha in the name of silt removal,” said Vipin Koodiyedath, general secretary of the Nila Vichara Vedi.

Mr. Vipin said the government had not spent a single paisa to restore the check-dams destroyed in the 2018 floods, though crores of rupees had reached the exchequer by way of selling sand. The government should focus on restoration of the river and its check-dams, he said.

The check-dam at Painkulam Vazhalikkavu had suffered extensive damage in the floods. However, no effort has been made to repair it.

Several programmes have been planned to spread awareness among the people about the Bharathapuzha, a river that continues to play a significant role in the lives of thousands of people.

The State has turned down the proposals for the formation of a special authority on the ground that it is an inter-State river. It has such names as Perar, Korayar, Varattayar, Walayar, and Gayatri Mangalam.

Rivers such as the Thoothapuzha or Kunthipuzha, Kanhirapuzha, Ambankavu, Thuppandipuzha, Gayatripuzha, Mangalam, Ayilurpuzha, Vanaripuzha and Kannadipuzha contribute to the might of the Bharathapuzha, which flows 209 km through Kerala after covering 41 km in Tamil Nadu.


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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 4:54:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/outcry-strengthens-to-save-the-bharathapuzha/article36667595.ece

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