KERALA

Severe drought grips district

A parched paddy field at Puzhakkal near Thrissur.— PHOTO: K.C. Sowmish  

Many places in the district are facing acute water shortage as the mercury level is soaring.

Water shortage is severe in Engandiyur, Nattika, Thriprayar, Chenthrapinni, Cherpu, Thannyam, Chazhur, Chalakudy, Anthicaud, Chelakkara, Vallathol Nagar, Desamangalam, Varavur and Panjal panchayats. Long queues are seen in front of water taps.

The situation is alarming as the water levels in the main reservoirs are fast declining. With the Bharathapuzha drying up, many drinking water supply schemes are facing a crisis. Drought conditions have been reported in the coastal belt too.

According to the weather experts, the situation will be severe if the district does not get sufficient summer showers. Many farmers, who had tried the cultivation of vegetables and plantain, have been bearing the brunt of the summer. The district has been declared draught-hit and the administration has formulated plans to tackle the situation.

During a review meeting on the drought condition recently, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asked the district administration to take emergency steps to tackle the situation.

The Chief Minister directed the District Collector to sanction an advance amount of Rs. 50,000 each to panchayats for water supply in lorries. An amount of Rs. 4.25 crore has been handed over to the collector as draught relief in the district.

Constituency-level meetings in connection with water distribution will be held in various places soon. The Chief Minister asked the Collector to submit a report on the proposed drinking water projects that can be completed in a year.

The condition is critical in the city corporation limits too. The situation at Nadathara, Paravattani, Pattalamkunnu, Vadukkara, Lalur, Ayyanthole and Kuttanellur are worse.

Programmes like rainwater harvesting are necessary to recharge the depleting ground water level, according to experts.

Meanwhile, the district medical officer has warned the people to be careful against water-borne diseases such as jaundice, cholera and typhoid.

People have been asked to drink lots of water. Those who work in the sun should take rest between 12 noon and 3 p.m., the DMO said.