Unity in diversity is India’s strength. There is simplicity in every Indian. There is unity in every corner of India. This is our strength. -Narendra Modi
Varattar river which connects two major rivers in Kerala once used to carry cargo once. According to local masses, they had witnessed racing boats in past. The river was dead and disappeared till mid of 2017 due to the rapid urbanization and environmental crisis. Following is the success story of Keralites who saved Varattar river from disaster.
About Varattar River
‘Let the river come’ is the meaning of ‘Varatte Aar’ in Malyalum. Varattar River connects Pampa and Manimala river in Kerala. It allows excess water in both the major rivers to flow through it. In short, it acts like a flood control mechanism. Previously, Varattar facilitates fresh water to thousands of households and agricultural fields. Excessive sand mining and wrongly planned developmental activities had encroached the river.
The Revival Story
The situation worsened year by year. Soon, people started facing shortage of water resources. When they realized the importance of tributary, following things happened;
- They formed a local committee to revive Varattar river.
- Committee prepared an action plan.
- Initially, local people collected around 10 Lakh Rs to cover various expenses like workers daily wages, renting of earth movers, etc.
- Grampanchayat members, enthusiastic people, school students started cleaning the surroundings.
- All local political leaders joined the project.
- The state government backed the project through its various schemes.
- State government connected this initiative with Haritha Keralam (Green Kerala) Scheme.
- MANREGA workers, Kudumbashree activists extended their hands.
- All financials were daily updated and communicated to everyone on a Whatsapp group.
In the mid of June 2017, The river was successfully poured with fresh water. The project completed its first phase successfully. State finance Minister Thomas Isaac is a key government personnel behind this project. He announced that the area will be preserved as a biodiversity zone and river banks will be developed through footpaths, bar-coded trees, etc. as per local requirements.
Till now, only half of the work has been done. In first and very important phase of project, they have restored a small trench of water flow. The development of full fledged river is under progress. Meanwhile, an autonomous deemed university in the Kerala; Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) has incorporated this one-of-its-kind mass movement in its curriculum!
Upon successful implementation of this Varatte Aar project, Kerala government has undertaken revival of another river named as Kolarayaar! This is great achievement for all Keralites. I congratulate all participants for their noble efforts. These success stories should trigger nearby government bodies to initiate such projects. It will only strengthen the quote mentioned at the beginning of the post, isn’t it?
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