The success of the first phase of the rejuvenation of the Varattar river was an example of bringing positive changes in the mindset of the people through popular initiatives, Water Resources Minister K. Krishnankutty has said.
He was inaugurating a workshop on the second phase of the project at Vanchipottil kadvu at Edanadu, near Chengannur on Tuesday.
According to him, restoration of various rivers is progressing in different parts of the State. This would be helpful for the States farm sector, he said.
Farming in Kaviyur
He said the successful peoples initiative for farming in the Kaviyur puncha (paddy fields) in Thiruvalla after a long gap of 30 years too was highly appreciable.
Delivering the keynote address, Finance Minister T.M.Thomas Isaac said the work on three bridges across the Varattar would begin in the second phase.
The tourism possibilities of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts would get a big boost once the second phase is completed,the Minister said.
The Varattar rejuvenation programme began under the Harita Keralam Mission on May 29, 2017. The popular committee had completed the weed-clearing work in the Aadi-Pampa, a double-headed meander loop of the Pampa which was later short-circuited by floodwaters in 2017.
Two unscientific causeways constructed across the Varattar riverbed, blocking the natural flow, were demolished as part of the first phase.
The government had not spent a single paise in the first phase, making it a model peoples project.
The first phase was managed by popular committees comprising villagers.
Mobilised 28 lakh
They mobilised funds for 28 lakh for the basic weed-clearing and other preliminary works.
Dr. Isaac said the government was planning to convert the Varattar riverbanks into a biodiversity zone as part of the second phase.
Saji Cherian, MLA, presided over the function.
Mathew T.Thomas and Veena George, MLAs, and T.N.Seema, Harita Keralam Mission vice chairperson, also addressed the function.
G.Venugopal, Alappuzha district panchayat president; K.Shibu Rajan, Chengannur municipal chairman; P.C.Ajitha, block panchayat president; and N.Rajeev, Eraviperoor grama panchayat vice president; also spoke.