THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mookkunnimala was once a source of around 12 streams. Today, regions around these hills are parched. This region had not faced severe water shortage in the past, but relentless exploitation by the quarry mafia has made it too reel under the drought hitting different parts of the state.
Water level in almost all the wells has dipped drastically -- some have even dried up -- especially in the Malayam region.
The quarry mafia has claimed all the dried-up streams. Flow of water down the hills has slowed, making recharge of the wells and paddy fields difficult.
A check dam built illegally across the Arumathodu by quarry owners has added salt to the wounds.
People of the area remember the times when a rivulet used to flow into the Karamana river even in the peak of summer.
Worsening the situation, flow of water was blocked after the illegal check dam came up, they said.
Mookunnimala Samrakshana Samithi activist Latha Preeth attributed the water level dip chiefly to the check dam.
The stream was a source of recharge for the wells here. “But now the flow has been blocked. Quarry owners built the check dam for activities such as washing the M-sand,” she said.
There are allegations quarry owners have built big wells in paddy fields, sucking the groundwater dry. They use the water for mining activities. Mookunnimala Samrakshana Samithi leaders said officers have not taken any action against the quarry-owners.