National News: Illegal construction of wells in river beds continues unabated in Kasaragod


Illegal construction of wells in river beds continues unabated in Kasaragod : Rashtra News

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Illegal construction of wells in river beds to draw water to irrigate areca nut and other cash crops along the Madhuvahini river is continuing unabated. 
Kasaragod district has been reeling under water shortage despite being blessed with 12 rivers. Though 900 water storage structures were constructed, groundwater level has not seen a major rise in the district. Moreover, illegal drawing of water is depleting groundwater levels.

While the water table has risen thanks to good rains, a few regions in north Kasaragod have witnessed a depletion in water levels. They include the area near the Madhuvahini river.

According to environmentalists, the authorities are yet to act against the illegal practice that destroys water sources and river beds.

P. Prabhakar, a retired teacher and organic farmer from Cherakala, said that besides water shortage, a major issue is the free electricity provided to farmers. 

“Farmers pump water for hours together. This continues even during summer when water shortage is at its peak. They pump water from rivers by digging wells. Many farmers have shifted from paddy cultivation to areca nut farming. This has resulted in overexploitation of water to irrigate crops,” he pointed out. “Now, there are several wells along the 32-km stretch of the Madhuvahini river and other four rivers in far north of Kasaragod,” he said.

Meanwhile, students of Eco Club at the Kendriya Vidyalaya, following a field study, filed a petition seeking the immediate intervention of the District Collector in the matter. According to them, dumping of waste and overexploitation of water by constructing wells in river beds will eventually destroy rivers.

E.P. Rajmohan, special officer, Kasaragod Development Package, admitted that illegal drawing of water from rivers was on. Compared to the total requirement of 975 cubic millimeters of water, the district gets only 30 cubic millimeters through the storage facility. While the requirement of 455 cubic millimeters is met from rivers, 80% of people go without water in the absence of rains. In such a scenario, pumping water illegally from river using free electricity will again affect groundwater levels, he added.

Ramesh, executive engineer, Major Irrigation, said it was illegal to draw water by constructing wells in river beds. The department has not received any complaints so far. However, necessary action will be taken and pumps will be seized if such activities are noticed, he said.

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( News Source :Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Rashtra News staff and is published from a feed.)