KOCHI: Even as the floodwater receded from many areas in the district, people living in certain areas are still battling waterlogging. Many houses inward numbers 3, 4, 5, 11 and 12 are still waterlogged. The residents blame the decision of the Puthenvelikara panchayat authorities to keep the shutters of the barrage built across Morthodu open.
According to Rajesh PG, a resident of Kozhi Thuruthu, the Morthodu project was launched to help farmers irrigate their lands during summer. “The shutters used to be closed towards the end of May and the excess water used to be drained out through the spillways. During those times flooding was never a problem in this area,” he said.
“We have been living here for 24 years and apart from the deluge of 2018, water never entered our land or houses. However, this time around officials decided to keep the shutters open to prevent flooding in certain areas,” he said. However, flooding is an annual phenomenon in those areas, he said.
“Water used to enter the areas but once the rain abates, it used to recede along with the tide in the sea,” he said. According to him, it has been three days since water began receding from nearly all areas. “However, over 400 houses in the five wards are still inundated. Water has turned stagnant and we are afraid it might lead to health problems,” said Rajesh.
Cleaning on in full swing
Cleaning activities are on in full swing in all houses which were flooded in North Paravoor. “Unlike last year, we didn’t have to tackle the problem of silt and mud this time,” said Sheeja Ajikumar, a resident of Kozhi Thuruthu. Of course, there was flooding, she said. “But the damage wrought was not as extensive as last year,” she added.
According to her, the deluge of 2018 had taught the people a lesson or two. “As soon as we heard water was gushing in from the swollen Chalakkudy River, we dragged perishables and mattress to the first floor. We shifted to safer places,” she said. Sheeja lost decor materials that she and her husband used to rent out for events. “We also lost pearl spot seedlings we have been farming in a pond near the river,” she said.
Some farmers in the area lost their banana crop. “This Onam, the markets won’t have any produce from this area. Plantains have been destroyed and farmers are letting them rot in the fields since the unripe fruits fetch a very low price,” said Ratheesh A, a resident of Kozhi Thuruthu. According to him, even fishing has taken a turn for the worst. “I eke out a living by fishing in the river. But after the 2018 floods, shoals of fish have disappeared. It has become difficult to get a good catch,” he said.