TRIPUNITHURA: Residents of Chambakkara are a worried lot. With the Chambakkara Canal getting contaminated by toxins, fish deaths have become common here.
Many people who are dependent on fishing as their livelihood, are now in troubled waters. The shrimp farmers are the most affected. Thousands of shrimps, farmed in the canal as part of a major fishing project, perished after contamination. According to the fishermen unions, unscientific methods of canal cleaning and diversion, have led to the present crisis. They pointed out that waste from the Konnothupuzha Canal is being diverted to Chambakkara. Lack of proper planning by the municipal authorities is another factor, alleged A Shaji, a member of the fishermen’s union.
“Only a bund at Vettuvelichira separates Chambakkara Canal from the dirty Konnothupuzha Canal. Also, a big share of the waste generated from Tripunithura Municipality and nearby Bramapuram Waste Treatment Plant is being diverted to Chambakkara Canal. Recently, as part of the Municipality’s Konnothupuzha Canal cleaning drive, they opened the bund and let the waste into Chambakkara Canal,” he said.
“We have been farming shrimps for several years. This year, however, due to the contamination none of seeds could survive,” they lamented. “We brought the issue into the notice of the municipal chairman two weeks ago but no action has been taken so far. The Municipality must give us compensation,” they added.
However, Tripunithura Municipal Chairman R Venugopal preferred to play down the issue by terming it an usual affair. The authority has already taken steps to protect Chambakkara Canal, he said. “Municipality will ensure that financial aid is given to the affected fishermen. We have decided to take up the issue with Fisheries Minister K Babu, who is also the local MLA,” he said.