Tamil Nadu

Students to start survey on dried up river

Route map of Kousika River.

Route map of Kousika River.

he Athikadavu Kousika River Development Association, that is striving hard to revive the 52-km long Kousika River that is dried up for more than a decade, is trying to conduct a preliminary survey on that river with the help of college students.

Width of the river, connecting canals, extent of encroachment, number of irrigation, panchayat and other private borewells alongside the river will be studied.

Secretary of the association P.K. Selvaraj said that the report will be submitted to the district administration and Public Works Department, which had earlier stated initiating steps to survey the river and to initiate restoration measures. “But, the officials study with revenue officials and surveyors got delayed as the model code of conduct came to effect,” he said.

Originating at Kurudi Malai near Narasimhanaickenpalayam in Coimbatore Kousika River flowed through 22 Panchayats and Town Panchayats – that included Idikarai, Kovilpalayam, Vagarayampalayam, Thekalur – in Coimbatore before flowing into River Noyyal at Vanjipalayam in Tirupur district.

“There are major bridges and many smaller bridges running across the forest river that flowed for around six to seven months a year. “We used to get groundwater at a depth of 60 feet and it was the main source of water for irrigation for a few thousand acres,” he said.

Without the river water level has gone below 1,700 feet close to the riverbed. “Of the nearly 360 borewells in the seven villages in Moripalayam panchayat less than 10 per cent of them yield water,” he said. But for signboards bearing the river’s name alongside the road in villages through which the river once flowed, one cannot guess that a river once flowed there.

Erecting the boards a year ago and enlightening the villagers on the importance of the river has yielded results. “Villagers are stopping sand mining and dumping waste into the river on many occasions. Such illegal activities have come down along the stretch of the river,” he said.

On reasons for the river facing its present plight, he said that the water was diverted from the place of origin by a few powerful persons for agriculture and other purposes. Illegal mining of red sand by brick kilns left pits as deep as 50 feet for several acres in the course of the river curtailed flow of water. Further damage was caused by garbage dumping and vegetation on the place where the river once existed.

The association that does not have much financial resources is dependent on the government for rejuvenating the river.

On their repeated efforts the public works department and agricultural engineering department have sent a proposal to desilt Kousika River and to construct 10 check dams on its course. Efforts are also on to linking the river with Athikadavu-Avinashi Groundwater Recharge Scheme.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2022 4:36:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/students-to-start-survey-on-dried-up-river/article8530316.ece