The Dhenupureeswarar temple at Patteeswaram, about 10 km from Kumbakonam, is a significant vestige of the period dating to 7th century AD. But the way its tank was maintained all these years showed no signs of respect for heritage.

Till recently, the supply channel to the tank remained in disuse with silt occupying most space. Whenever the need for filling the tank arose, water was drawn from a nearby borewell. Virtually, everyone became oblivious of the existence of the supply channel. Thanks to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the supply channel has now got a fresh lease of life.

Identified under the category of rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, the channel restoration work saw the utilisation of manual labour for removal of silt from the channel, which is known as Pampapadiyur channel.

Measuring 2.6 km long, the channel, used to get its supply from the Thirumalairajan river, cuts across houses in the village. So, when the district authorities began tracing the alignment of the channel, they found it a daunting task. The renovation of the channel involved dovetailing Panchayat funds with the MGNREGS. Launched in early December, the entire work was carried out in 45 days. Now, the temple tank gets water through the channel, says K. Baskaran, District Collector, with a sense of fulfilment.

To give an account of the social profile of the composition of the MGNREGS workforce at Patteeswaram, Scheduled Castes account for a little over 50 per cent of around 1,240 persons, to whom job cards have been issued.