Sunday, June 04, 2006

Monsoon = Suffering Time for Few; But Why?

Monsoon has hit Kerala and last few days have seen heavy rains in Kerala. As usual lots of low-lying areas are under water and affected people were shifted to relief camps. Since many schools are used as relief camps, government postponed reopening of schools from June 1st to June 5th.

Scene 1- Houses near to sea shore belonging to fisherman

The people to suffer worst as usual are fishermen who live very near to the sea. For them sea is their mother and cannot live away from seashore. Time and again as monsoon comes we see that their huts get destroyed by angry sea waves. Every time this happens I hear a minister declaring that sea walls will be constructed throughout the coast in a war footing. This time it was the turn of the Fisheries Minister S Sharma to declare that construction of seawalls are the top priority of the new government. This makes me wonder "How long will we have to hear this crap from Ministers when rainy season hits Kerala?"

I feel this is one of the things, which the new government should take as a priority. Food, cloth and shelter are the basic needs of mankind and it is the responsibility of government to provide those to underprivileged in the society. Construct seawalls across Kerala seashore where there is a change of flooding so that fishing folks don’t have to suffer and they can peacefully sleep in their house during rainy season.


Scene 2 - Flooded housing colony in Trivandrum City

If you happen to watch TV during floods in Kerala you can see some housing colonies in cities, which are fully flooded. If you go deep into why these colonies get flooded one can understand that these colonies are constructed filling paddy fields. I remember one colony in Trivandrum, East of Karamana Bridge. The whole area was a paddy field on the banks of Karamana River. Now multi-storied houses occupy the whole area. During the rainy season there were instances when the water level rose to above 8 feet. I don’t feel sad seeing the plight of those people in TV or reading about that in the TV. I believe this is the way Mother Nature shows its anger towards those who disturbs her eco system.


Scene 3 – Flooded village on the outskirts of Trivandrum City

My native village in Kerala is near Kilimanoor in M C Road. It is a very beautiful place amidst hills (with rubber plantation), streams and paddy fields. During my childhood I have never seen any floods during the rainy season. Paddy fields and streams are capable of holding almost all the water that falls in that tiny village. Now you hear news of flooding during rainy season from my native village. Reason – all the paddy fields gave way to houses and there are no more hills or rubber plantations.


photo courtesy: Kerala Kaumudi

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely true Brijesh.. One way natures "kicks butt". We hear about the flooding in Thampanoor railway station and bus stand.. people walking though waist deep of water..

June 04, 2006 4:07 AM  
Blogger silverine said...

Thanks for dropping by Brijesh and blogrolling me. I saw your post on Head Load Workers the day you posted and wanted to put up a post on that. Then the news came in that nothing was found in the "sons' blood report and I had to blog about that :p

June 04, 2006 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your comments are one sided. If population growing everyday what would people do. Even the place you live in trivandrum was a paddy field once upon a time. The blaming is easy and we need to find a solution to tackle it.

June 04, 2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger silverine said...

I have an uncle in ISRO. He was telling me that long time back, ISRO offered to help the Karnataka govt. to plan its housing development scheme. They would provide the map of low level areas and tank beds that could be avoided. But the then CM Patil ignored the proferred hand and as a result a lot of lake beds and low lying areas were converted to colonies, which is what led to flooding and flash floods in Bangalore which killed many people. As you rightly pointed out, we have to take the topography into consideration and then plan development. When we have an agency like ISRO why arent state govts. approaching them? The answer is obvious I guess :)

June 04, 2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger retarded said...

Brijesh, I would also say second half of your article looks at things from a side profile :). You seem to neglect the other side of the coin. If people want to build a house, they would just look for a place to live peacefully. They can not take into consideration that a river flows by the side and paddy fields have to be evened out to build a house there. Growing population of a state needs place to live. If the gov does not take environmental scientists' advises into consideration, people will build houses in paddy fields or in swamps as Gov is authorizing the same. The population desity of kerala according to 2001 stats is 819[Ref:], which is not an easy rate to maintain..its growing. When a person decides to build a house, will he think about karamanayar and eco system or a piece of land which he will get for a cheap rate?
We will have to consider the human psychology also. Given an option, nobody would build a house which will go under water if it rains for a week.

The weather has not behaved very badly in the recent past than the decade before. [percentage rain fall in the last deacade and this decade]. The current rainfall is NOT more than normal. [Ref:]
The levelling of paddy fields is not the ONLY problem behind kerala going subaqueous with just one week of rainfall during monsoon.

hence the 'BUT WHY' part of the article is not properly answered and probably can't; at the moment.

June 04, 2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Anon1-Thampanoor happens to be a paddy field long back. It is in the heart of the city and it will be a foolish decision if some one says that it should not be filled. The thing one should have done (even now it can be done) widen the drainage. The drainage which runs under the railway station is too narrow and can’t even accommodate one tenth of the water during rain. Technology is so advanced that it is very easy to widen the drainage below Thampanoor railway station. But who takes the initiative is a big question.

Anon2- I don’t know who you are, but let me tell you one thing. My house in Trivandrum is not in paddy filled land. My parents being agricultural scientists are well aware of the ill effects of filling paddy fields, cutting down trees etc. So they won’t build a house filling paddy field.

Silverine- yes, the lack of planning on the part of government and various agencies are responsible for this condition. Even when there was a law in Kerala, which prohibited filling of paddy fields, it didn’t prevent people from doing it in mass scale. Even now in these areas if government or other responsible agencies can build proper drainage facility the problem can be solved to some extent.

Also to blame are the common people. They sometimes do the most senseless things. For example the village I am talking about the first thing they do in the early 90’s was to fill up the stream, which was in fact the lifeline of that village. They constructed a road by filling the stream. Then all the people started filling their paddy fields, Most of them then sold it to other people. Every one has there interest in my mind and no one ever thought of drainage and they are suffering now. So the common people also has to behave in a more sensible mannar.

“If people want to build a house, they would just look for a place to live peacefully”
If u construct a house in places not suited then it would be extremely tough for them to live peacefully especially when the monsoon is in full swing.

“If the gov does not take environmental scientists' advises into consideration, people will build houses in paddy fields or in swamps as Gov is authorizing the same”

Kerala had a law that prevents paddy fields being filled up. Did it prevent people from filling that? People very well know that it is illegal but they do it. One can argue that lack of space and population growth as possible reasons. But if could properly plan the drainage facility and others things can be taken care of even now.

“Given an option, nobody would build a house which will go under water if it rains for a week.”

What I have seen is most people are ignorant of all these stuff and few just close their eyes even if they know.
Retarded, I was pointing to one of the many problems faced by Kerala. We may be the only state, which provides flood relief and drought relief to same people in the same year. I believe that exploiting the nature is one of the main reasons for this phenomenon of flooding to happen in Kerala even when it rains for 1 week.

June 05, 2006 2:00 AM  
Blogger verbaltorture said...

Hell yeah!
I couldn't agree more. In many ways (the monsoon being one of 'em), nature often shows man who's boss. Every so often, landslides occur in places that were deforested, tsunamis happen where seas were reclaimed etc etc. The list is endless.

You piss Mother Nature off, and you're in big trouble. BIG trouble.

June 05, 2006 4:47 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

verbaltorture-You summarized what I have to say by writing "You piss Mother Nature off, and you're in big trouble. BIG trouble"

June 05, 2006 5:00 AM  
Anonymous chandni said...

u r right brijesh...

our callousness towards the environment is now giving way to nature's wrath....

All over the world there are signs ...unpredictable and unexpected climate change...natural disasters..

Its high time we realised we're abusing our provider and destroying ourselves

June 06, 2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Chandini-Thanks for visiting my blog. yes you are right. the tsunamis and katrinas are the result of exploitation of mother nature by humans

June 07, 2006 1:37 AM  

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