Alappuzha: At least 258 Valiyathuruthu residents in Kuttanad who survived a long flood situation of three months last year are under fear of another bund breach as the monsoon intensifies.
Their long-standing demand for a new bund fell on deaf ears despite the devastating floods, and they remain on the warpath.
Their representatives had in December met water resources minister K. Krishnankutty and appealed to get the works of bund completed. Despite his assurance, nothing happened so far.
Valiyathuruthu Padasek- haram, which local people fondly call as Sundarippadam’ (charming paddy field) as it undergoes ‘bund breach’ in every monsoon season without fail, is the most vulnerable padasekharam in the low-lying Kainakary Panchayat.
The bund had breached thrice last year, making life incredibly miserable for them. Their houses were standing in the water from June to mid-September, forcing many to flee.
Many families erected makeshift sheds on the upper places even in a crematorium. The Rs 5 crore outlay for new bund cleared a couple of years ago remains on paper.
R. Manoharan, president of the Padasekharam, says they had to shell out Rs 7 lakh before the monsoon started to strengthen the bund.
“But it’s not enough. We are sure the bund will not withstand the strong flow of water once the water level goes up,” he said.
“The bund around the paddy fields is 2650-metre long, and farmers live in and around. If it breaches, the entire cultivation will be washed away and houses inundated.”
Ajesh Kainakary, a resident who was part of the team which met the minister, hopes the government would take up their cause seriously.
“The authorities could not take us for granted because flooding could become fatal,” he says.
“Their attitude is that we are destined to endure hardship, and we learnt to survive in such a crisis over the generations. This is deplorable.”
N.C. Kurian, another resident, said they were unable to face yet another flood situation in their life.
“We have lost everything. The government gave us just Rs 10,000 as immediate relief. It was a pittance. The life here depends largely on the existence of bund” he says.
“Authorities know it. We are still clueless about how we will overcome the season with such a weak bund.”...