Farmers in five panchayats near Hosur are demanding construction of check dams across the Vahini River to store rainwater during the monsoon season. The 20-km river passes through the panchayats of Begepalli, Jhujhuwadi, Nallur, Avalapalli, Kelevarapalli and Muthali.

Taluk president of the Tamilnadu Vivasayigal Sangam D. Kothandaraman told The Hindu that the Vahini was one of the perennial water sources of the region a decade ago and due to mushrooming industries, real estate activities and encroachments, it had shrunk at many places. Its width at some places was as much as 300 feet. It was now reduced to 50 feet. Its main water source was the Bidarakuppa Lake at Athipalli in Karanataka.

A five-feet bund of an old check dam, which was there for about 70 years between Bagepalli and Bagoor in the Begepalli Panchayat, was dismantled by the authorities and it was replaced with a 30-feet concrete road. Though the road was formed just four months back, people had to wade through water in hip-deep water. Water from this check dam was used for irrigating 500 acres of paddy cultivation.

The Vahini’s path was encroached upon all along its length till it converged with the South Pennar River near the Muneeswarar temple in Sangameshwara after passing through Bogepalli, Bagoor, Jhujhuwadi, Pedarapalli, Nallur, Agraharam, Govind Agraharam, Petha Elasagiri, Madiwalam, Nallur, Sithanapalli, Basthi, Punuganthotti, Thimmasandiram and Thottagiri villages, Mr. Kothandaraman said.

“The salubrious weather condition in this region is well suited for cultivation of all kinds of cash crops such as cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, beans, beetroot, noolkol, cucumber, fruits such as grapes, flowers such as rose and samanthi and mulberry cultivation. Even small farmers with marginal landholding would benefit if check dams are built. Farmers are now depending wholly on borewater. Borewells have to dug up roughly about 300 to 400 feet to get water,’’ said the 72-year-old C. Narayana Reddy, a farmer.

He said that if the authorities cleaned up the river path and built five check dams, it would benefit about 2,000 acres throughout the year. Besides helping in recharging the groundwater table in the nearby areas, the check dams would create employment opportunities for the youth of the region who had small land holdings and also improve the socio-economic standards of the people.

The Tamilnadu Vivasayigal Sangam proposed to submit a petition to Collector V.K. Shanmugam soon, said Mr. Kothandaraman.