No golden jubilee celebrations for Malampuzha dam

Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: The State Government and the district administration have failed to organise any form of celebrations on the Golden Jubilee Day of the Malampuzha dam on Sunday.

The dam was inaugurated on October 9, 1955. It made Palakkad the `rice bowl of Kerala' and helped Malampuzha become the foremost tourism destination in Kerala.

A committee headed by District Collector K. Ajayakumar was formed to coordinate the jubilee celebrations in August. It was planned to celebrate the jubilee along with the Onam and Tourism Week celebrations. But o steps were taken to organise the celebrations.

Even after that, neither the Government nor the Water Resources and Tourism Departments which jointly run the dam and the garden here, have tried to organise any function on the Golden Jubilee Day.

The Malampuzha dam is an engineering marvel completed in a record time of just five years by the then Madras Government, as Palakkad was part of Madras Presidency then.

In March 1949, the then Public Works Minister of Madras K. Bhaktavalsalam laid the foundation stone for the dam and on October 9, 1955, the then Chief Minister K. Kamaraj inaugurated it.

The dam has brought prosperity to the district. Paddy is cultivated in 50,000 acres in two seasons using the dam waters. Of the 3,10,521 hectares of paddy acreage in Kerala, Palakkad accounts for 1,15,910 hectares, 37.33 per cent of the paddy produced in the State.

The Malampuzha garden, one of the first tourism destinations in Kerala, still attracts more than 15 lakh visitors a year. On last Thiruvonam day (September 15), more than 25,000 people visited garden and the reservoir.

The garden and the reservoir have scenic settings with the forested hills of the Western Ghats forming the backdrop.

Though the authorities have failed to remember the day the nature has celebrated it in a fitting way.

The reservoir is full after a gap of eight years. In fact, it is overflowing and water has been let out to the river and canals for the last one month.

Meanwhile, the Malampuzha Dam Protection Committee has protested against the neglect of Palakkad district by the Government.

Committee secretary P.S. Panikkar said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was on a visit to the district on Sunday to inaugurate a government college at Kozhinjampara. The authorities should have used the occasion to invite him to have some function at Malampuzha.

He said the committee had written to the Chief Minister, Water Resources Minister Thiruvachoor Radhakrishnan and the Department of Tourism in June last requesting to organise a fitting celebration for the jubilee. But no such action has been taken in this direction.

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