KOLLAM: Once the rice bowl of Kollam, Kunnathur Taluk now holds fresh hopes to retrieve its paddy cultivation with the launch Chittumala Chira project.
The project proposed a quarter century back to revive farming in the vast Chira or pond spread over 196 hectares, once catered to the needs of the whole East Kallada, has a total outlay of Rs 28 crore.
The Chira during its prosperous times served as a reservoir of water during dry months and irrigated Puncha farms that had flourished in the area earning the nickname ‘rice bowl of Kollam’.
Over the years, the canal Ambi that carried water out of the vast pond was deposited by silt and was completely blocked leading to a constant decrease in Puncha farming.
The blockade of this canal also inundated the extensive Iruppu farming in nearly 400 hectares on both sides of the channel. The Chira spreads across East K-allada, Perayam and Pavithreswaram panchayats.
“The retrieval of Chittumala would help reinstate the Iruppu and Puncha farming that have gone down the memory lanes of people,” district development council member Abraham Samuel told DC.
“This is the only solution for the floods washing away crops on either side of the canal during rains apart from helping the area to regain its pride by contributing to the state’s food security.”
The first phase commenced a month ago is expected to be completed within 18 months. It involves clearing the canal to ensure water flow starting from Thottikara and ending at Moozhi.
Three vented cross bars will be constructed across the canal to aid agriculture on either side. Construction of five check dams, culverts and spillways are also part of the project that has provisions for drinking water supply.
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