Mindless Exploitation

The Chalakudy is my 'river-in-law', but means more than a river to me. A decade ago, the banks welcomed an awed bride into the family. That bride knew the value of water, and of pristine surroundings, having grown up in the city of the Adyar, the Cooum & the Buckingham Canal. Idyllic setting: house by the river, potable water, sandy banks, greenery as far as the eye can see...
In her westward journey, the river flows by the busy town of Chalakudy (Trissur district, about 75 km north of Kochi). A concerned writer laments that a seventh dam is planned at Athirappilly, where the river cascades magnificently. This, despite the fact that there are sane alternatives to generate the intended 160MW of electricity, and at much lesser cost than the dam's Rs 650 crore budget.

Over the past ten years, I have been witness to a rather rapid change in the waterflow. Upstream effluents and illegal sand-mining have almost stopped the flow, the water is murky, and weeds have taken hold, the river is little more than a canal now...
Locals recall the wide, white sandy banks at each turn of the river, and that they would routinely walk across the river to reach the town, and in the monsoon, the river came a-calling at one's door-step...
The intended dam will reduce the falls to a trickle and drown 140 hectares of forest area. Very high price to pay for insignificant gains.
May better sense prevail!
(here are 'then' and 'now' pics)
Here's a travel jotting of one of our Chalakudy sojourns

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