Irrigation canals to a length of about 66 km, on the Tiruchi-stretch of the Uyyakondan river, are to be cleared of silt, weed

The Public Works Department (PWD) has commenced dredging operations on several stretches of major irrigation canals across the district, including the city stretch of the Uyyakondan river.

The department would be spending about Rs. 3.25 crore on dredging, masonry, and renovation of shutters in the district as part of its annual maintenance drive taken up ahead of the monsoon.

According to PWD sources, different stretches of various irrigation canals running for about 66 km are to be cleared of silt at an estimated cost of Rs. 87 lakh. This apart, 41 masonry renovation works have been taken up at a cost of Rs. 1.87 crore while Rs. 47 lakh would be spent on 11 works of renovation of shutters.

Important among the works are the clearing of silt and weed growth on the city-stretch of the Uyyakondan river between Puthur and Tiruverumbur, running to about 10 km.

While farmers and civic activists have welcomed the move, they said the department should take up a comprehensive project to renovate the water courses.

Pointing to the heavy pollution of the Uyyakondan on the city stretch, N. Ramakrishnan, a civic activist, says it is time the PWD prevailed upon the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation to block all sewage flow into the river between Puthur and Ariyamangalam in the city.

Hundreds of open drains could be seen flowing on this stretch. “The move to clear the silt and weeds is welcome, but this should not be done in bits and pieces. The PWD should take a holistic approach to renovate and protect the river from pollution. The embankment along the river could even be developed as a green track,” says Mr. Ramakrishnan.

Farmers want the PWD to take up a comprehensive approach to renovate all irrigation canals across the district. The Uyyakondan river, the Kattalai High Level Canal (KHLC), the New Kattalai High Level Canal (NKHLC), and other irrigation canals need to be renovated comprehensively, says R. Subramanian, deputy secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association.

The KHLC runs for about 60 km from Mayanur in Karur district to Thayanur in Tiruchi district and irrigates more than 20,000 acres of fertile land in the two districts. The KHLC and other canals have silted up heavily and there is immense difficulty in water reaching tail end areas of the channel such as Ettarai, Koppu, Puliyur, and Thayanur, he said and pressed for the sanction of a plan to modernise the KHLC at a cost of Rs. 133.50 crore.