KOCHI: The residents of Chittoor-Kothad area can now heave a sigh of relief as their long standing demand for sprucing up the Edayakkunam river has been fulfilled due to the efforts of the district administration. The river which is a tributary of Periyar had been bearing the brunt of illegal encroachments. Coconut palm trunks which had been erected on the river bed by the encroachers to mark their territories used to obstruct the smooth passage of boats.
This issue came to light after the drowning of a boy named Varghese Sharmal around six months ago. The rescue team had to face great difficulty in fishing out his body as palm trunks blocked their boats from reaching the spot. Their boats also got damaged.
“This is landmark decision taken by the district administration. The decision to bring a new lease of life for the river by removing all the trunks. In fact, this action has foiled the attempts of land grabbers to take over a major chunk of river bed by erecting palm trunks,” said Benny Francis, panchayat member. District Collector M G Rajamanickam came up with the decision after being swamped by complaints and concerns raised by locals and environmentalists.
“We lodged complaints before Port trust chairman and minor irrigation department. The panchayat had passed a resolution in this regard led by president K K Suresh Babu,” Frnacis said.Meanwhile, allegations have been raised that a prominent hospital was behind the alleged move of filling the lands. But the hospital authorities refuted with the allegations after they met the panchayat officials.
Cheranalloor village officer has submitted a report before the Collector stating that there has been an enormous increase in ‘Chinese Net’ on the river and this has been obstructing the smooth flow of boats. “However, the mystery about who is the one playing behind the scene is yet to be unravelled,” Francis added.