Citizens build ‘Kattas’ in Padre

Citizens build ‘Kattas’ in Padre

The construction of a katta in progress in Padpu village.

To revive a long-forgotten tradition of constructing Katta (earthen bunds), villagers in Padre in Kasargod district have launched “Katta Kattuva Habba.”

Four kattas have been constructed across Padpu-Poyye Thodu (rivulet).

The construction of kattas will continue till mid-January. It is an initiative of the WhatsApp group, ‘Neera Nemmadiyatta Padre’ (towards water secure Padre) launched to revive Swarga and Padpu rivulets in the village.

In the past, farmers used to build more than 40 to 50 traditional kattas across the 8-km long Swarga Thodu from Kinnahannamoole to Ajakkalamoole and two-kilometre long Padpu-Poyye Thodu.

Not building kattas led to a severe water crisis in the villages in the past few years, Neera Nemmadiyatta Padre President Srihari Bhat Sajangadde told DH.

He said that four kattas were constructed with the active participation of farmers whose farms were located close to the rivulet. “I have constr ucted two kattas across the rivulet after a gap of 50 years. Due to electricity, irrigation pumpsets and borewell drilling machines, the practice of constructing katta had disappeared. Katta was part and parcel of our culture in the past,” he stressed.

Bhat recollected that when they were growing paddy, water impounded in the katta was not only irrigating his paddy field but also over 30 acres around his farm. Four models of katta were constructed using sandbags and soil, areca palm and soil, plastic and fiber sheets. I am confident that at least 40 kattas will be constructed by the mid of January in Padre,” Bhat said confidently.

Kattas help in enriching the groundwater table not only in the vicinity but also in wells and other open water sources located five-kilometre away from the katta.

Shrikrishna Kashyap, another farmer who has constructed katta across the rivulet after 12 years said; “Katta’s impact is visible with water overflowing in my well and pond. I am planning to retain the katta until the next monsoon.”

Water conservation expert Shree Padre who is also a resident of the village who launched the WhatsApp group said; “The whole initiative has given social recognition to the concept of Katta, with people discussing on various modules and ways to improve the method of building it. The whole initiative has boosted the spirit among the family members involved in the construction of katta.”

To transfer the thought and knowledge about Kattas to the younger generation, students in schools and colleges were involved in the activity of building kattas.

Recently, a team of NSS volunteers from Bettampady First Grade College had visited the site where a katta was constructed recently. Impressed with the work, they decided to construct a katta across a water body during their annual camp, Padre said.

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