Swamps to ponds – How Twenty20 transforms landscapes
While sprawling marshy areas in Kizhakkambalam get a makeover to spanking new ponds, it is not just the landscape that is changing but it is also a big step towards water security in the region.
Large, inaccessible marshy areas are a familiar sight in Kerala especially during the monsoons. These are usually found around paddy fields – whether under cultivation or not – and water bodies. The marshlands are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and snakes and are surrounded by thick shrubs and weeds making it difficult to clean them out even. They thus remain neglected and hidden away from public gaze making them convenient dumping grounds for household as well as more dangerous industrial wastes by small manufacturing units that dot suburban Kerala. In Kizhakkambalam, however, these untended grounds are getting a swanky makeover due to the unstinting efforts of Twenty20, the social arm of the Anna Kitex Group.
A village that is naturally blessed by a bounteous nature, Kizhakkambalam has been over the years losing most of its ponds and canals to neglect, ignorance and encroachment. Ever since the people’s will under Twenty20 came to power in the panchayat, unstinting efforts have been on to revive and renovate these resources that were gradually going under. Dredgers were deployed to renovate the canals that were reduced to mere trickles over years of apathy. These dredgers are heavy machinery which work in water several feet deep and undertake desilting resulting in removal of blockages and thereby ensure free flow of water. Once the dredger does its work perimeter walls are built to protect them.
Work on the marshy areas too have been going on with equal focus and thrust as a result of which many of these swamped regions today are ponds from where people draw water for their daily use. The swamp in Choorakode was one of the biggest in Kizhakkambalam village – a menace, tackling which the local populace was clueless about.
“Because the canals were cleaned out and the ponds revived there has been no flooding in Kizhakkambalam this year,” said Purushothaman, a resident. “This is all the result of the immaculate planning and hard work put by Twenty20 for us people.” He went on to add that not only the revival of ponds have ensured there was enough drinking water for the people but even the groundwater levels in the whole of Kizhakkambalam has gone up compared to the rest of the state.
The Twenty20 team said that similar makeovers were underway in Ambunad, Njaralloor and Thamarachal. These ponds go a long way in ensuring better water security not just in Kizhakkambalam but in the towns and cities around it as well.