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Flash floods spoil agri land in Kuala Sepetang, Taiping

By RASLAN BAHAROM

LARGE tracts of agricultural land in Kampung Melawati in Matang, Kuala Sepetang near Taiping, have remained un-productive, no thanks to perennial flash floods.

Villagers there have blamed the silting and clogging up of the Melawati River with overgrown weeds as the main causes of the floods. The river, which meanders through the village, will burst its banks after heavy rain.

Mohd Khairuddin Abdul Halim, 44, said the district Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) appointed contractors yearly to desilt the river in the past.

He said most of the landowners in the vicinity had abandoned the area due to the flash floods.

“Nothing can be grown in a flooded area,” he said when Bukit Gantang MP Roslan Shaharom and Kuala Sepetang assemblyman Tai Sing Ng visited the village recently.
Here's the problem: Mohd Khairuddin (left) showing the clogged Melawati River to Roslan.

Also present was Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu.

Mohd Khairuddin said the situation was different in the old days.

“There were plenty of coconut trees here and had this village been experiencing flash floods then, it would be impossible for the coconut trees to grow,” he added.

He also said the Melawati River used to be an important waterway for fishing boats and trawlers in the old days when they would dock and unload their cargoes at the Ngah Ibrahim Fort (now known as the Matang Historical Complex).

“In the old days, fishermen would clean up the river while heading to Kuala Sepetang but now, the river could not be used by them because a water gate had been erected downriver to prevent sea water from coming in,” said Mohd Khairuddin.

Earlier, the newly-elected representatives also visited nearby Kampung Matang Gelugor where overgrown water weeds had also clogged up the drains there, causing frequent flash floods.

Roslan said he would request of the DID and the state government to desilt the Melawati River and widen the clogged drains at Kampung Matang Gelugor as soon as possible.

“This must be given priority and I hope the necessary allocation can be channelled to the DID soonest possible.

“Large tracts of agriculture land have remained unproductive all this while. Once the situation improves, the land owners can toil their land and earn more income,” said Roslan.

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/3/28/north/20760824&sec=north

 

 
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