Encroachment on the river
Plots were leased out to private companies along the river banks to construct Saw mills and timber storage. . In the course of time, timber industry faded away and the saw mills closed down. But the land remained, even though unauthorized, in the hands of some individuals who developed the land by filling up and constructing buildings.

In 1996, Kallai puzha samrakshana samithi - Forum for the protection of Kallai River - was formed by some youngsters in the area.

They organized wide spread campaigns to create awareness among local people about the effects of this encroachment.

The Kallai River originates in Cherukkulathur in the Western Ghats . It runs only 40 kilometers to meet the Arabian Sea, but long history of culture, tradition and foreign trade runs through the veins of this great river.
It was the first and most prominent navigable waterway during 6the reign of Zamorins.

Strong granite rock structures were erected during this period to make this waterway safe for navigation.
In those days this was the main route for timber, hill produces and spices from nilambur forest to reach the commercial port of Calicut.

Rafts and country boats were used for transporting goods.

There was a link route to elathur via kanoli canal, a man made waterway connecting korapuzha river and the kallai river.
Kallai gained its international fame for its timber trade. Foreign traders, especially Arab, Chinese and Japanese came to Kozhikode mainly for the timber. Hundreds of Timber mills sprouted up along the banks of Kallai River. The salty water of this river was believed to render extra strength to the timber. Logs that came from different places were left to stay in the water for several days. Huge cranes used to lift these logs were a common sight along the river bank.

A song from a Malayalam film describes the Kallai River as a perfect setting for romance. But in reality, the same water body is slushy and polluted, making people living on the banks vulnerable to contagious diseases. A few decades ago, logs from Nilambur forests used to be tied together and rolled into the Kallai. This was the easiest mode of sending timber to saw mills 30 km away in Kozhikode. Now, silt has slowed down the river flow. Even small boats struggle for a smooth sail. Mangrove vegetation on the banks has been destroyed in many places and the river looks ugly. But locals still remember the songs composed on the beauty of river. Kallai was once the lifeline of Kozhikode but today it's dying a slow death because of pollution and sand mining. It is high time the authorities took some action.

Facts
Measuring 40 kms in length and covering an area of 96 sq kms, it forms an important river taking into consideration the commercialization part. Kallai, situated on the banks of the river, is the core centre of timber trade.

Kallai Puzha Samrakshana Samithi

(Kallai River Protection Council )

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