The deluge that hit the state of Kerala last month has affected it in many ways, as we are discovering each day. In Ponnani beach in the northern district of Malappuram, a sandbed has formed right across the sea post the floods. The sandbed, which runs for nearly a kilometre into the sea, has been attracting scores of tourists, forcing the police to be on alert fearing safety issues.
The sandbed has formed following the deposits caused by the excess rain and the opening of the shutters of the Malampuzha dam and the Aliyar dam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The high tides and the oversetting of the banks of the Bharathapuzha river also seems to be the reason for the formation of the sandbed on the Ponnani cove.
“The sandbed began attracting tourists two weeks ago. It was formed following the floods and is about a kilometer long. People can now walk into the sea over the sandbed from the shore, but it is not safe as the sea can be rough due to high tide, which we can’t predict. If high tide occurs after people walk into the sea, it would be difficult for them to come back, a precarious situation indeed,” Farooq a native of Ponnani tells TNM.
“Apparently a similar phenomenon happened in 1996 due to excess flow of water due to the change in the course of the river. Officials have now begun warning people not to walk over the sandbed,” he adds.
In 2009, a similar sandbed was formed following a change in the river’s course. At the time, four young people had gotten caught in deeps waters, after which one of them reportedly drowned.
The Coastal Police have begun deploying personnel to prevent people from being adventurous. “After the sandbed formed, tourists began flocking here about four or five days ago. Since then we have been warning them and have deployed police personnel to prevent them from walking on the sandbed into the sea,” Ponnani Coastal Police says.
The visitors are coming mostly from Malappuram, though there are some from the neighbouring districts of Kozhikode and Kannur. Meanwhile a video of the sandbed is being widely circulated, which is also prompting people from outside the district to visit the beach. The Harbour Engineering Wing has also reportedly warned people from walking over the sandbed to the sea.