Shutter of Thottappally spillway collapses

Farmers in Kuttanad fear that saline intrusion during high tide would destroy paddy crop

One shutter of the Thottappally spillway collapsed raising the threat of saltwater intrusion into Kuttanad.

Shutter 7 collapsed and fell into the water on Friday.

Paddy farming (additional crop season) is on in several fields in Kuttanad and farmers fear that saline intrusion through the leading channel of the spillway during high tide would destroy the agriculture. Local residents said the saltwater intrusion had already begun.

Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine has directed the officials concerned to carry out the repair work immediately. He asked the officials to reduce the intrusion of saltwater by erecting a temporary structure using sandbags. Mr. Augustine said the Irrigation chief engineer had been dispatched to Alappuzha for taking necessary measures.

Last year, the government sanctioned ₹2.75 crore for replacing all the 40 shutters of the spillway. “The tendering process is nearing completion and we hope to start the work on replacing shutters soon,” Mr. Augustine added.

The Minister, who visited Kuttanad on Friday, said the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras would submit an interim report on the desilting of Vembanad Lake and rivers in Kuttanad by September. “The government will not wait for the final report. Based on the recommendations in the interim report, the government will prepare projects to desilt waterbodies with an aim to prevent waterlogging in the region,” he said.

Mr. Augustine said that steps would be taken to strengthen six km long outerbunds at Vadakkekari and Madathanikari. He said the issues related to the ₹290 crore Kuttanad drinking water project had been resolved.

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