104 dams to be renovated at a cost of Rs. 750 crore

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has sought release of funds from the Union Government for interlinking the rivers — Cauvery, Vaigai and Gundar, Public Works Department Principal Secretary S. Ramasundaram has said.

Addressing reporters here on Tuesday, he said that the Centre had not released funds for the project as sharing of Cauvery river waters between States was under dispute. The Tamil Nadu Government had made it clear that the project was meant only to divert the floodwaters in the Cauvery from Kattalai in Karur district to Vaigai and Gundar in the southern districts.

The Chief Minister had written to the Union Water Resources Minister that the State was only going to divert whatever water was received in Tamil Nadu. “We are not going to ask for additional water from Karnataka (for this purpose),” he said. The floodwaters which the Karnataka could not hold or that which could not be utilised by the delta districts would be diverted to dry parts of the State, he added.

Mr. Ramasundaram said that a series of dry tanks would benefit from the floodwaters. “Those tanks have registered ayacuts. But irrigation is not reliable for want of water. If this water is diverted they can raise at least one crop and also the groundwater could be recharged,” he added.

The first phase of inter-linking of the Tamiraparani, the Nambiyar and the Karumeniyar was under way. “Since Tamiraparani originates and runs through the State, the work has started anticipating Central funds,“ he added.

Other projects

On interlinking the Cheyyar and the Palar, he said that the work on Palar would be taken up with State Government funds as the Union Government would not fund an inter-State river project that runs through Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. All these three projects, on an outlay of Rs. 600 crore, would be completed by 2014. “Once these projects are completed, the three systems could be interlinked,” Mr. Ramasundaram said.

Stating that one of the three systems was experiencing flood every year, he hoped that the PWD would be able to divert floodwater to other systems ensuring reasonable distribution of water to the State.

A total of 104 dams in the State would be renovated at a cost of Rs. 750 crore in the next five years under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Programme.

Earlier, Mr. Ramasundaram held a discussion on water issue with the Collectors — C. Kamaraj (Madurai), V.K. Shanmugam (Virudhunagar), Mahesan Kasirajan (Sivaganga) and T.N. Hariharan (Ramanathapuram), besides PWD officials.

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