Venoor, Feb 12, 2020: College students and villagers led by a zilla panchayat member have conserved water in a big way by building about 50 Kattas (small bunds) on the Phalguni and its tributaries in about a 25-km radius of Venoor town during the last two months.
The Kattas meant to hold water for summer have come up in the jurisdiction of eight gram panchayats on the foot of the Western Ghats in Belthangady taluk. The community with the leadership of P. Dharanendra Kumar, a member from Naravi constituency in Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, used sand bags and soil to build them without using any grant from the government. The cost of construction, including the supply of material, food and transportation, has been borne by donors, including Mr. Kumar. The shramdan saved labour charges.
Such sand-cum-soil-based Kattas in large numbers in a typical geographical area have come up for the first time in Dakshina Kannada, thanks to the students of Alva’s College, Dhavala College and S.N. Polytechnic in Moodbidri; St. Aloysius College in Mangaluru; Government First Grade Colleges in Vamadapadav, Punjalkatte and Belthangady and the people of the villages under the panchayats.
Initially, students of Alva’s College and others built six Kattas in Naravi and its adjacent Kutluru villages in five days, from December 9 to 13, 2019. It prompted people from nearby gram panchayats to place the demand for Kattas and join hands in constructing them with students.
It resulted in the construction of 14 bunds under Marodi Gram Panchayat, seven in Naravi panchayat, eight under Kashipatna panchayat, five in Andinje panchayat, two each under Sulkeri and Arambodi gram panchayats, five in Hosangady panchayat and six under Venoor Gram Panchayat, he said.
“We will build two more Kattas one each in Hosangady and Venoor within a week. Probably, they will be the last ones of this season,” Mr. Kumar, who was also a former vice-president of the zilla panchayat, said and added that water stored will also feed animals and birds in summer. “Building a Katta will be more effective and meaningful,” he said. The government declared the entire Dakshina Kannada as “partially drought-hit” in January 2019. “There is no dearth of water in the district. But there is lack of effective water management which needs to be taken up seriously,” said Mr. Kumar.