Of late, the heavy rains in Mysuru have devastated the Chamundi Hill and caused misery to people living in low-lying residential areas through inundation. Sadly, despite the heavy rains, the ground-water table is unlikely to have risen much.
For much of this, we have ourselves to blame. In the first place, the climate change and unusually heavy rains are a consequence of indiscriminate felling of trees and unwarranted construction.
The grandiose plans of converting Chamundi Hill into a tourist attraction by disturbing the fragile stability of the hill-slopes, are not only ill-advised but also destructive in concept.
The citizens of our heritage city must raise their voice against this madness and must not allow this to happen. Instead, we must strengthen the stability of the hill-slopes through plantations and sound engineering practices that do not allow rain water to accumulate behind retaining structures.
As to the reasons why there is no replenishment of ground-water even when we have adequate rainfall, natural tanks or lakes which would have acted as receptacles for the water to flow into, have all but disappeared.
Civic authorities have allowed building construction on the natural flow channels or Raja Kaluves, thus blocking the passage of water into the tanks. This has led to the natural death of lakes and the excess water has nowhere to go and naturally enough, inundates the low-lying areas. We must claim the lost natural Kaluves and allow rejuvenation of lakes. This will help bring down the rising temperatures too.
The recent practice of house owners to pave the entire width of their houses with cement aprons, is another pernicious and illegal practice which prevents natural percolation of rain water into the ground. Rain-water just runs away on the asphalted roads and doesn’t help in replenishing ground-water. Worse, the house owners claim proprietary rights over this apron and even wash them with potable water using hose pipes. The authorities should not be allowing this practice at all.
– Prof. A.S.R. Rao, Kuvempunagar, 14.11.2021
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