Kannanaru joins the Pamini a few km from the sea
As the Huang He River is called the sorrow of China, so is the Kannanaru river for the people of tail-end areas in Tiruvarur district.
At least 50 villages, including Kovilur, Nochiyur, Kombuduthidal, Alandkadu, Uppur, Sittanallia Sirukalathur, are among the worst hit when the Kannanaru is in spate.
“We had to remain on top of our houses for three whole days with nothing to eat in the 1983 and 2008 floods,” lamented farmers at Karaithidal Puttagaram, which is just a km away from Muthupettai. The people of these villages could not even be rescued using boats , they lamented.
Kannanaru is a very small river that originates from the Vaduvur lake.
A. Govindarajan, president of Muthupettai unit of Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association (CDWFA), says that water is stored in Vaduvur lake almost to the brim in order to irrigate the fields, in case of a drought. Water from Vadavur lake and Thirumeni Eri is released into the Kannanaru.
Kannanaru joins the Pamini river, one of the most important rivers of the Vennar division, a few kilometres from the sea.
S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the CDWFA Mannargudi points out that though the Pamini river normally carries 650 cusecs, it is designed to carry a maximum of 3,000 cusecs. But during the floods, it is forced to carry as much as 8,000 to 9,000 cusecs which causes breaches in a number of places on the way thereby inundating several villages between the Pamini river and the Korayar.
Mr. Govindarajan says that the Korayar also joins the Pamini river at some point and then branches off to run off into the sea.
Sometimes, with the contribution of both the Korayar and Kannanaru, the total flow available with the Pamini river surpasses 20,000 cusecs. But still the water fails to enter the sea because the mouth of the Muthupet lagoon is not wide enough. This is also one of the major reasons for the breaches.
In order to set right the situation, funds to the tune of Rs.100 to 150 crore would be necessary to stop the Kannanaru from joining the Pamini river and instead allow it to run off into the sea just about six km away.
For this purpose, the State government might have to go in for some land acquisition.
He is confident that the landowners would be willing to part with the piece of land required for the purpose. However, the government has not taken any initiative in this regard. Despite taking it up with officials, nobody has bothered to do anything about it, he lamented.
Mr. Ranganathan said that he had taken up this issue with the State government as early as 1979 because of the floods. But, he wonders why no government has taken any step to redress grievances of the villagers.