A river in Kerala has regained its lost glory when people of a panchayat joined hands to revive it. After nine years of effort, the 7.5 km long Kuttemperoor river in Alappuzha, which was a garbage dump, has finally started to flow again from Ulunthi in Achankovil to Illimala in Pampa. The people have also formed a collective to protect the river and preserve its pristine beauty.
For over two decades, Kuttemperoor river which runs along the border of Mannar, Chennithala, and Budhanoor Panchayats in Alappuzha district, has been choking under the weight of rampant dumping of tons of sewage and other sorts of garbage.
The river runs from Ulunthi in Achankovil to Illimala in Pampa. The restoration was made possible with the help of Rs 15.70 crore funds provided by NABARD under the Employment Guarantee Scheme, led by Haritha Keralam Mission. It was in 2013 that the restoration of the river started after Budhanoor panchayat took the initiative with the support of the local people.
“The restoration works were completed in three phases with 1,300 workers putting in their efforts under the Employment Guarantee Scheme,” said Budhanoor Panchayat president R Pushpalatha Madhu.
“The rejuvenation involved building bund roads, bunds with coir bhoovasthra, bathing ghats, and canals connected to the agricultural sector. We have devised a project to make the spot a tourist destination. The tourism minister has agreed to provide the necessary support. We could revive the river through a collective effort of the people,” she said, adding that the final phase of restoration works were done in just 30 days creating 39,000 workdays.
“We are really happy that we could revive the river. The whole area had a foul smell for the past several years from the stagnant water and garbage. Now it has gone. We won’t let anyone pollute our river again,” said Rajesh M, a 32-year-old local resident.