Kodapamund : Throwing caution to winds
Dharmalingam Venugopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre]
Kodapamund originally referred to a Toda mund at the boundary between the traditional divisions of Todanad and Mekunad. The Toda mund was abandoned sometime in mid-19thcentury, probably after the opening of Kotagiri-Ooty road.
Map- Kodapamund in 1920s
During the British period it was the preferred residential area for top officials including Major Kelso, the first Commander of the Nilgiri hills.
Post independence, it remained for long a sleepy settlement of hard working farmers, washer men and milk men. The Kodapamund reservoir fed by streams originating from the Doddabetta ranges used to be perennial source of drinking water for the town.
Degradation of Doddabetta ranges in the 1970s led to the 1978 landslides and floods which turned the life-giving Kodapamund reservoir into a killer taking away more than 100 lives.
Since then, the Kodapamund water channel has been major source of pollution and sewage in the town gradually choking up the Ooty lake.
The Kodapamund channel is the only source of water to the 20 ha lake and runs for a length of 5.5 km of which 3.06 km is within the Ooty town. According to a study, ‘the Channel is converted into the dumping place of the different types of waters by small hotels, land encroachers, market, shop keepers etc., moreover it has been the outlet for the sewage of the unauthorized house owners and the rain water drains are utilized for this purpose’.
Hundreds of similar studies and crores of funds have been spent in the name of cleaning up of the Kodapamund channel and the lake but to no avail so far.
Kodapamund, situated on the Dodabetta slopes, has become increasingly susceptible to landslides in recent years. Slides on the Eastern flank of Kodapamund near the grave yard and on the North east of grave yard have been recorded. On the road side huge retaining walls reminds one of the vulnerability of the area which has become one of the heaviest traffic area in the district.
Of late, the Kodapamund area has been allowed to grow into a major tourism area with facilities such as hotels, shops and entertainment centres mushrooming all over. Monstrous buildings are raised right on the road margin with total disregard for building rules, drainage or slope safety. Neither rules nor reason appears to slow down the roller coaster development of Kodapamund.
Severely high traffic, steep slopes, lack of drainage, high density of heavy constructions, excessive and indiscriminate tourist activities amidst vegetable farming make Kodapamund a prime spot for environmental catastrophe.