Kottiyur: Civic authorities, residents and ecologists of a rural belt in north Kerala are in the throes of retrieving their small local river that has changed character after the August floods and landslides in the region.
The Bavalipuzha, which is now a trickle as it reaches the valley, is today full of rubble and logwood it had received two months ago when heavy rains triggered deluge and landslips upstream. The river has changed course along certain stretches of semi-hilly Kottiyur and Kelakam panchayats of Kannur district.
The largely slender river has broadened itself after the calamity. In some parts, it has encroached into farmlands. In others, such as on one side of Kottiyur, the river has lost all its water and dried out in complete contrast to the picture it presented two months ago when the Bavalipuzha was eating up its own banks and damaging agricultural plots.
Officials are yet to estimate the exact loss of property and finance in the calamity. At least 10 km of the river’s course require massive embankment (both concrete work and afforestation) besides facilitating the river to regain its pre-flood course. Authorities say the rubble and timber accumulated down the plains of the river require immediate removal, lest the Bavalapuzha would eat up the highway not very far in another round of downpours.
The two panchayats are poised to inviting tender for mining the river’s sand with approval from the geology and revenue departments. Enviromentalists have cautioned against the routine activity this time, given the precarious situation that calls for a rebuild of the locality as priority.