KARNATAKA

Malampuzha dam to celebrate Golden Jubilee

CELEBRATING A MILESTONE: The Malampuzha Garden at the dam site  

Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: Malampuzha dam, the biggest irrigation reservoir in Kerala, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee year in October. A committee has been formed with District Collector K. Ajayakumar as chairman to coordinate the Jubilee celebrations starting with Tourism Week and Onam celebrations in September.

Malampuzha Dam has brought prosperity to the district, making Palakkad the `rice bowl of Kerala'. Paddy is cultivated in 50,000 acres in two seasons each using waters from the Malampuzha dam. Of the total 3,10,521 hectares of paddy acreage in Kerala, Palakkad has 1,15,910 hectares producing 37.33 per cent of total paddy produced in the State as against 9.54 per cent in Alappuzha, 13.95 per cent in Kottayam and 12 per cent in Thrissur.

The Malampuzha Garden and reservoir have a scenic setting with the forested hills of Western Ghats forming the backdrop, making it one of the foremost tourism centres in the State.

The dam across Malampuzha river has a total length of 2,069 metres. Of this, masonry dam has a length of 1,849 metres while the earthen dam covers the length of 220 metres. The catchment area of the dam is 147.63 sq. km. Its storage capacity is 236.69 cubic metres. The full reservoir level of the dam is 115.06 m and Gross Storage at FRL is 226 mm3.

The idea of constructing a dam at Malampuzha was mooted in 1914 by the then Madras Government. Palakkad was part of Madras presidency then. In March 1949, the then Public Works Minister K. Bhaktavalsalam laid the foundation stone for the construction of the dam. It was constructed in record time and on October 9, 1955, the then Chief Minister K. Kamaraj inaugurated it. Before the construction of the dam, the area was known as Punnppara, Chovankadu, Iduppady, Vadukampadam, Thanjikapallam, Karakkad, Thoopallam, Varani, Akkarakadu, Kadukkamkunnam, Aanakuzhykadu, Thampurattypotta, Aanamukkara, Pandipotta, Thekkumpadam and Koshavan Idukku. Now the entire area is known as Malampuzha. The dam was conceived as a multi-purpose project to provide water for irrigation, drinking, industries, power generation, fish farming and water transport.

The first amusement park of the State - Fantasy Park - is another attraction of Malampuzha. It is being expanded with a water theme park to be opened during Onam festival.