We want to make it a movement with locals’ participation, say coordinators

Scores of volunteers from various service organisations, including women, took up a cleaning drive on the Tirumanjana Cauvery on Amma Mandapam Road in Srirangam on Sunday.

The entire stretch of the Tirumanjana Cauvery, which branches from the Akanda Cauvery, has been polluted with plastic and other solid waste. Open defecation by devotees along the canal is also common during festival seasons.

“Pilgrims and strangers in the area are little aware of the sanctity of the Tirumanjana Cauvery,” says S. Thanveer, coordinator who took up the initiative under ‘India Clean Sweep’ project in joint co-ordination with Chennai Coastal Club and Chennai Trekkers Club.

According to senior citizens, it was from Tirumanjana Cauvery that the holy waters was taken daily for the religious rituals (tirumanjanam) at Srirangam Sri Ranganatharswamy temple. Hence the name Tirumanjana Cauvery.

Commencing at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday, about 250 volunteers, cleaned the Tirumanjana Cauvery and the operation lasted for about three hours.

“This is the first phase of cleaning work and we want to make it a movement with participation by local residents,” says G.H. Kumar, coordinator of Thanneer Iyakkam which also took part in the programme. He said that the volunteers would resume the work for the next three Sundays.

Interestingly, a large number of young men and women actively participated in the service. “In fact, we need a large number of volunteers. Those interested can contact us,” says R. Ragavan, organiser, Hindu Maha Sabha.

D. Ganeshkumar, a volunteer, said that efforts would also be made for sensitising local residents on the banks of the Tirumanjanam Cauvery to the need to keep the water body free from pollution, keeping in mind the significance and religious sanctity of the place.

The operation clearing also brought to light a few encroachments on the banks of the Tirumanjanam Cauvery. “Not all structures have been approved by the City Corporation and encroachers have been a nuisance in the area,” say the volunteers.

A number of sanitary workers also immediately cleared the plastic and other waste materials dumped by the volunteers.

Teams

Mr. Thanveer said that two special teams led by N. Raja Ravivarman and B. Udhayavan have been formed for creating awareness among the local residents to keep the water body clean. Those interested in enrolling themselves for the drive scheduled for the next three Sundays could contact the volunteers at 9791702630 or 9629093144, he said.

Surprisingly, the stretch was seen polluted only in the Srirangam zone. “In its upper reach in the Melur area and also downstream in Kallanai, the water is used for irrigation and is free from any pollution,” says Mr. Kumar.