Residents of Talapady Kudru, on the southern tip of Karnataka bordering Kerala, have been having a harrowing time since Monday following a steady increase in the levels of three rivulets — Uchchila, Talapady and Kunjathur.
Though it is not the rainy season, the steady inflow of fresh water into these rivulets from upstream and sand dunes preventing the flow of water into the Arabian Sea at Batpady are said to be the reasons for the artificial floods.
While the residents raised an alarm on Monday itself, they began sending SoS messages to the authorities concerned to cut open the sand dunes to prevent further flooding and damage to plantations as well as houses. The residents fear that coconut trees would decay if the water remains stagnant.
Talapady Kudru and Uchchila Kudru are the two artificial river islands, surrounded by rivulet waters on three sides and the Mangaluru-Kannur railway track on the eastern side. But for the railway track, the residents would have had easy access to the mainland — Talapady and Uchchila on National Highway 66.
The sand dunes which got destroyed during October first week due to illegal sand extraction from Batpady beach got restored naturally, as had been happening for ages, within a fortnight. Ullal Police raided illegal sand mining places on October 23-24 and seized 16 boats as well as 30 loads of sand meant to be transported to Kerala.
Residents said that when the sand dunes got restored, the illegal miners prevented cutting open of the dunes fearing exposure of about 16 boats that had been sunk by them during the police raid. This further aggravated the situation, said a resident who did not wish to be named. They also alleged that personnel from the Mines and Geology Department were threatening to book cases if the sand dunes were cut open.
Batpady beach falls under the jurisdiction of Someshwara Gram Panchayat, which regularly gets sand dunes cut opened whenever water levels increase. Panchayat president Rajesh Uchchil said that he has arranged for opening of the sand dunes, by Wednesday morning.
Deputy Commissioner S. Sasikanth Senthil said that Batpady Beach is assigned to a private individual for tourism infrastructure development. He will also post guards for the safety of beach.