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2021 floods: Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad suggests ban on construction, quarrying in fragile areas

As part of preempting future disasters and strategies for mitigating miseries, KSSP, in the report, asked to ban all building constructions near first and second order streams in steep slopes.

Published: 23rd January 2022 02:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2022 02:57 AM   |  A+A-

The land and houses destroyed in landslides in the Mukkulam-Thazhathangadi area of Kokkayar panchayat

The land and houses destroyed in landslides in the Mukkulam-Thazhathangadi area of Kokkayar panchayat. (Photo| EPS)

By Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: In light of the massive landslide and floods that occurred in Koottikkal and Kokkayar grama panchayats in October last year, the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) has put forth a slew of recommendations before the government to avoid further calamities.

Based on a detailed study conducted post the floods, KSSP has recommended enforcing strict restrictions, including a ban on construction activities, quarrying, and unscientific agricultural practices, in the landslide-hit regions.

As per the study report, which was released the other day, landslides occurred in places that had earlier been identified as hazardous zones by the National Centre for Earth Science Studies. The report also pointed out that landslides occurred in moderate hazard zones.

Hence, the existing landslide hazard zonation maps have to be revised and updated on appropriate scales at panchayat levels as chances of extreme rainfall incidents are to be expected more frequently in the future. The local self-government institutions should form and maintain permanent voluntary disaster management teams to train and guide people in hazard zones.

According to the report, there are still chances of further toppling and wedge failure in the landslide-hit sites such as Vempala, Poovanchi, Plappally, etc, posing a threat to habitations and human life. As part of preempting future disasters and strategies for mitigating miseries, KSSP, in the report, asked to ban all building constructions near first and second order streams in steep slopes.

The report also recommended restricting unscientific agricultural practices like making trenches and terraces for water conservation, banning quarries in and near areas identified as moderate hazard zones besides high hazard zones, to ensure proper drainage for run-off water in slopes before the rainy season. It also suggested discouraging the practice of rebuilding houses on the sites of the damaged ones.

"New buildings to be constructed on slopes should be properly designed based on the landscape and firmness of the soil. A technical team comprising a geologist and a geotechnical engineer should be maintained permanently at the district level for this purpose," the report said.

"The rocks in these sites have to be urgently removed, without blasting, to avoid further disasters. The original depth of the streams and the river has to be restored by dredging out the large quantity of accumulated debris, silt, and boulders, subject to environment audit. The sand and rock thus salvaged can be put to use for construction purposes," the report said. It sought to set up rain gauge stations and start regular monitoring in hazardous areas where people still inhabit. 

The study was jointly conducted by the Kottayam district committee of KSSP, Integrated Rural Technology Centre (IRTC), Palakkad, and the Centre for Natural Resource Management, Christ College, Irinjalakuda.



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