The State government has earmarked additional funds to expedite the completion of the 58-canal scheme, sanctioned in 1999.

Public Works Department Secretary M. Saikumar, who is the monitoring officer for the district, visited some of the ongoing projects in the district on Wednesday. He was accompanied by District Collector Anshul Mishra. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Saikumar said that the Tamil Nadu government had sanctioned an additional Rs. 8 crore for the completion of the 58-canal scheme. "I am confident that the work will be completed by this fiscal and the farmers can reap the benefits from the next financial year," he said.

A PWD official said the government had sanctioned Rs. 33.81 crore for the scheme in 1999. It was envisaged that the scheme would facilitate irrigation in 58 villages in Usilampatti taluk and the surrounding areas. The total cost of the project was pegged at Rs. 75 crore.

As the tanks in the Usilmaptti were dry most of the year, it was proposed to divert water from the Vaigai dam, situated near Andipatti, for a distance of six kilometres through this scheme. An additional 3,000 tonnes of food production could be achieved once the 58-canal scheme was commissioned, as an additional 1,000 hectares of land would be covered.

Mr. Saikumar said that the government had given its nod to Ayacut farmers to clear silt from the Vaigai dam. Earlier, the mining authorities had raised an objection to the practice. Responding to a question whether the government would take steps to desilt the reservoir as the water level had dropped, he said that the Ayacut farmers removing the silt was not an issue for the PWD. "I had spoken to the Agriculture Secretary in this regard. He assured me he would look into the matter."

Keywords: 58-canal scheme

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