Kozhikode: It was a quarter century ago that the demand for ecosystem management and conservation of Kallayi river was first raised in Kerala Assembly. M.K. Muneer, the then legislator of Kozhikode South, presented the issue with the popular film song 'Pathinaalam Raavudichath Manatho Kallayi Kadavatho'. Although the then irrigation minister, Baby John, replied to it in the affirmative, the efforts to conserve Kallayi never really began.
In 2010, a plan was drafted to clean up the river and deepen it to increase water flow. The then minister N.K. Premachandran announced that work will begin soon. Administrative sanction was granted for Rs 3.5 crores in 2011 and a tender was floated.
The next irrigation minister, P.J. Joseph, said deepening work would begin in August 2011. Later in 2012, funding was increased to Rs 4.10 crore, and an agreement was sealed with a contractor who sought 24 percent higher funding than the estimated amount.
In between, the Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation approved a Rs 4.6 crore plan to protect Conolly Canal with the help of NABARD. In June 2013, administrative clearance was given for an extra Rs 80 lakh for the Kallayi project. But the approval order from the water resources department was delayed. Finally in 2016, February, a government order was issued approving the Kallayi river rejuvenation plan.
Former minister M.K. Muneer inaugurated it. But the contractor did not start the work. There were allegations that he was threatened by encroachers.
Completion of projects aimed at increasing the depth of the river
Timely completion of tasks
Steps to clean Conolly canal
Surveys and fences to prevent encroachment of river and canal
Increase the water content of Mambuzha-Kallayipuzha
The water capacity
It is important to ensure more water capacity in Kallayi river. Efforts must be taken to increase the water flow to Mambuzha. The springs of Mambuzha river, which flow through Peruvayal, Peruvanna and Olavanna, should be conserved. Obstruction of the river flow due to accumulation of mud and waste must be prevented. Small river inlets, which flow into the Mambuzha river must also be preserved.