Alappuzha: Fear of yet another flood has gripped remotest R. Block of 24 families in Kuttanad as authorities have failed to begin pumping out water.
The residents, still grappling with the scars of last year’s floods, demand urgent pumping work to save their lives and properties.
Their woes began during the 2013 floods that inundated the entire 1450–acre Kayal land when the dewatering system failed.
R. Block is the first place in Kuttanad that witnessed the concept of the double-crop system under landmark Holland Project in 1961.
As part of the project, they built outer bunds and 21 pump sets for dewatering, and it continued to protect the land with periodical maintenance till 2013.
Since then, 25 families, including 19 residents in the colony built under the Integrated Human Resource Development (IHRDP), left the place as their life became miserable.
K.P. Achuthanandan, 48, says water level has gone up following the latest rain.
“As of now, there is no dewatering system in place. If the rain continues, the water will flow into our houses. I have already set up a shed in an upper area, and we sleep there,” he said.
The residents also said with the monsoon gaining strength, the supply of electricity was intermittent.
“When we called KSEB, they said they had no boat to reach there. We urgently need to get pumping works done. Or water will seep into our houses,” said C.S. Sajeesh, 48.
A.D. Kunjachan, vice-president of Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU), blames district administration for the failure of a post-flood rehabilitation project to take off.
Of the 24 residents, 17 have submitted consent note for relocation in December. Based on this, the district administration asked them to leave by March after finding land to implement the scheme.
Later, the resident says, district collector seemed to have lost interest.
‘The collector did not even attend the meetings called in this regard. As a result, the scheme died an untimely death," he said.
Sheela Panicker, principal agriculture officer here, said that works to set up pump sets were underway in R. Block.
“We have applied for the power supply to operate pumps. Once we get it the pumping will begin’, she said.
In 2014, the state government allocated Rs 16.5 crore for revival of the block - Rs 6.5 crore for strengthening outer bunds and Rs 8.42 crore for revamping pump sets.
The agriculture deputy director is the special officer for the project. The authorities took 12 pumps to Kottayam for repairing two years ago.
“Only four returned. Nobody knows where the rest are.”...