Having borne the brunt of devastating floods in two successive years since 2018, the Puthenvelikkara panchayat has embarked on a detailed scientific survey for drawing up a disaster mitigation plan.
The survey is being conducted by the disaster management group of the local body in association with Equinoct — Community Sourced Modelling Solutions, a limited liability company engaged in climate change mitigation measures, and students and faculty of the Civil Engineering Department of SNM Engineering College, Malyankara, near North Paravur. While North Paravur in general was badly affected in the floods, Puthenvelikkara being the confluent point of Periyar and Chalakudy rivers was among the worst hit. The survey was kick-started from the Ground Control Point marked at Cheraman Juma Masjid back in 1887 in the Great Trigonometrical Survey conducted under the auspices of the East India Company to scientifically measure the Indian subcontinent. “It denotes the height as 4.40 metres above the mean sea level and being the nearest such benchmark to Puthenvelikkara should be used as the base point for disaster mitigation measures like flood inundation mapping. The panchayat is badly hit by saline water intrusions during tidal flooding as well though it has never been recognised by the government as a disaster,” said C.G. Madhusoodhanan, CEO, Equinoct. The survey is likely to be completed by March by which time it is likely to throw up detailed databases like ground elevation marks, flood mapping for 2018 and 2019, tidal flood mapping, and vulnerable locations based on which the government could chalk out disaster mitigation plans.
M.P. Shajan, coordinator, disaster management group, Puthenvelikkara, said that though the government by an order dated December 4 last year had asked all local bodies to draw up a disaster management plan, not many had taken it seriously. “We already have a rain gauge that gives us a real-time calculation of the rain received and that coupled with the river gauge denoting the rise in river water level, especially on the release of water from dams, will help us identify the vulnerable locations and the extent of their vulnerability during future floods. Besides, all future constructions should also be undertaken accordingly,” said Mr. Shajan.
The initiative is being taken up with community participation so as to make them stakeholders and convince them of its significance for their personal safety and that of their panchayat.
Published earlier by The Hindu on 05 Nov 2020