People of Kottarai, Adhanur submit memorandum to government

The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangham, affiliated to the Communist Party of India, has opposed the proposed construction of a reservoir across the Marudhayar River. The jungle stream was the cause of the train accident at Ariyalur in 1956 that claimed 144 lives. Raising the issue at the agriculturists’ grievances day meet here on Friday, R. Ulaganathan, district secretary of the sangham, said the proposed reservoir in Perambalur district costing Rs.108 crore for which about 1,000 acres would have to be acquired had been opposed by the people of Kottarai and Adhanur where the waterspread area would be located. “They have already given a memorandum to the State government,” he added. According to him, once the reservoir is constructed and 211 million cubic feet of water is stored , it would adversely affect the aquifers in the neighbouring district of Ariyalur. (The river which emanates from Perambalur district runs to about 70 km in that district, before entering Ariyalur district and join Kollidam). “The reservoir would hurt 60,000 acres to 70,000 acres in Ariyalur district because groundwater would be affected in at least 50 villages of Ariyalur district.” Hence, he appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to give up the proposal.

However, Rajachidambaram, State general secretary, Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangham, said that excess water from the proposed reservoir, whose holding capacity would be far less than the total flow (as about 1,400 million cubic feet is estimated to flow through the Marudayar and most of the water runs off into the sea), could be utilised for the welfare of people of Ariyalur district.

He also alleged that there had been a lot of irregularities in identifying the beneficiaries and distribution of relief in the delta areas of Ariyalur. Though the government had announced that 5,000 transformers had been purchased by Tangedco, farmers are not aware when their pumpsets would be energised. “Thousands of farmers have been waiting for the power connection even as the State government had announced special schemes in this regard”.

Mr. Ulaganathan said that though the State government had released funds for farmers’ compensation, the funds had reached only the cooperative societies and they are yet to be credited to the accounts of individual farmers. The disbursement should be properly monitored, he pleaded. He also lamented that the groundwater level had plummeted in the district which is already water scarce. Several water resources has been encroached by politicians and whatever is left remains unusable due to accumulation of silt. N. Sengamuthu of the Ariyualur District Farmers’ Association requested M. Ravikumar, District Collector, who was in the chair, to give out the details of small and marginal farmers in the district.

He wanted the village administrative officers also to take part in the uzhavar peruvizhas conducted in every village so that the grievances of farmers could be attended to expeditiously . He alleged that most of the farmers had been given only jewel loan by commercial banks instead of crop loan. Ambedkar Vazhiyan, a farmer of T. Palur union, alleged that a number of eligible farmers had not been given the relief. In Guruvadi village, quite a few farmers had neither ration card nor identity card, he lamented. T. Jayachandran of Aandimadam pleaded that a taluk office should be granted for Aandimadam, which was only next to Jayankondam in terms of number of petitions received.

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