Nation Current Affairs 15 Aug 2019 Minor irrigation ...

Minor irrigation's folly leads to floods

Published Aug 15, 2019, 5:46 am IST
Updated Aug 15, 2019, 5:46 am IST
The minor irrigation department that built the check dam had cold-shouldered local protests and ignored the advice of agriculture officers.
The check dam during construction
 The check dam during construction

Kollam: A check dam constructed across Pallikkal river at Thodiyoor in Kollam for irrigation purposes has become a menace for the local residents.

Over 300 houses in Karunagappally and Kunnathoor taluks were inundated and hectares of crops destroyed after water from the river spilled over the check dam.


The minor irrigation department that built  the check dam had cold-shouldered local protests and ignored the advice of agriculture officers.

The department had got  technical sanction in 2014 for irrigating the paddy cultivation in Aryanpadam. Earlier, local residents used to depend upon Vattakkayal for agricultural purposes, but that proved insufficient.

However, the minor irrigation authorities maintained that the flood was caused by spilling of water due to the heavy rain received along the upstream of the river in Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha.

"The water used  to spill over the check dam inundating Pavumba during all rainy seasons. The same happened last year also. The check dam is scientifically not a hindrance to the water flow as it is just 1.5 metres high making provision for the water to freely flow over it," K.N. Manoj, executive engineer, minor irrigation department, told DC.   Manoj also maintained the Pavumba and adjacent areas are low-lying and get  water-logged  during the rain.

The check dam has a total length of 30 metres and  three openings of a total 3.5 metres width. The Pallikkal river originates from Kodumon in Pathanamthitta and ends at Kannetti lake in Karunagappally spanning over 42 km.

Over 300 families have been shifted to four relief camps  in Kunnathoor and Karunagappally as the Sooranadu south, Pavumba, Manappally, and Pallikkal areas are  under water.

The Thodiyoor - Pavumba road is also inundated by the water spilling out of the check dam affecting vehicular traffic in the area.

The farmers with Churuli padasekhara samiti had protested  alleging the construction of check dam was unscientific. Several paddy fields including Churuli, Kuttathukuzhi, Manappalli, and Perakka vayal were inundated even during  small rain after the construction, they alleged.

A team consisting of  local MLA R. Ramachandran, Thazhava panchayat president S. Sreelatha  and panchayat members had visited the check dam to assess the situation and held  talks with the minor irrigation department authorities the other day.

"The authorities have promised to make sufficient changes,  including increasing the area of outflow of the check dam. The changes will be made after the water recedes,"  Sreelatha told DC.

 The water from the river  also spills over the Mannitta check dam on the border of Thazhava and Sooranadu near Thodiyoor which also contributes to the flooding in the area.

The disaster management committee in Kollam has  sought an explanation from the  authorities concerned  regarding the flood caused by the check dam.