Kerala should have a micro-watershed programme, says Finance Minister Dr TM Thomas Isaac
Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac has been promoting a green programme to revive the traditional ponds, rivers and streams in the state which will help replenish the ground water resources and help th
KOCHI: Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac has been promoting a green programme to revive the traditional ponds, rivers and streams in the state which will help replenish the groundwater resources and help the state fight the acute water scarcity during the summer season.
“The capacity of the Western Ghats to hold water has dipped significantly over the years. The forests with trees, shrubs, grasslands and a carpet of dead leaves had the capacity to hold water. Now, with rapid urbanisation, we have lost our green cover for which we are paying heavily. The rainwater rushes out from the hills and gets collected in the dams.
The storage capacity of the dams has dropped significantly due to silting. Though we receive excess rain, the water flows into the Arabian Sea, denying an opportunity to replenish the groundwater resources. We have to develop a micro-watershed programme, reviving our ponds and streams which will be a gift to the future generations,” the minister said.
He said the efforts made by the Soil Conservation Department, Kerala Land Use Board with active support from I B Satish MLA is a step in the right direction, that will help the revival of ponds to store water. “The Taliparamba panchayat is also implementing a watershed programme under the leadership of James Mathew MLA. They have prepared a project worth `200 crore. We are trying to get a Nabard loan for Kattakada and Taliparamba projects. If they take off, it will serve as a model for Kerala in watershed management,” he said.
The minister said the Kabani floods have served an important lesson to Kerala. “The vegetation in the catchment areas of Kabani has been destroyed. They removed the coffee plantations to cultivate pepper. The pepper plants were destroyed. There was no vegetation to hold the rainwater, which led to the disaster,” he said.