Project proposed at a cost of Rs.1,540 crore with ADB assistance
The Chief Minister's announcement of a slew of check dams on rivers flowing through the delta has received a warm welcome from the farming community here, however with a studied restraint.
On Monday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced a slew of check dams for the delta, under the assistance of Asian Development Bank. The project, proposed at a cost of Rs.1,540 crore, envisages the State government's contribution of Rs.468 crore.
The project is set to cover 29 rivers flowing through the delta.
The government has stated that the project would help recharge over 4.50 lakh hectares in the delta.
For farmers, this is a welcome move, but one that seeks implementation with much caution.
A project of this magnitude and potential should wean out political contractors in order to ensure audit and accountability for every rupee spent, say farmers across the board.
According to Giridharan, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sagam, affiliated to Communist Party of India, the project has the potential to degenerate to the scale of poor quality witnessed in desilting works carried out annually. It should not be a ritual of an expenditure, as the project posed a great potential for agriculture in the region.
Kaveri Danapalan, of Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, said, the scheme if implemented in the spirit that it was announced, it could be the answer to effective water management in the Delta.
Block to seepage
A large amount of water is wasted in run-offs, and the check dams on river mouths as announced in the project, is expected to curtail sea water seepage.
According to Mr.Danapalan, over 60,000 ha were affected by high Ph content, and aquifers were running dry. Check dams would address the issue, only if accomplished taking the farming community into confidence.
Across the spectrum, the largely held view is that a monitoring committee needs to be set up with farmers as stakeholders to monitor and audit the progress and quality of the project, once commenced.