Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday stressed the need for better water management and schemes to harvest rainwater, reiterating experts' warning that a water crisis would lead to major problems in the world.
Addressing a conference on water management of the ancient Tamils, the Chief Minister pointed out that though Tamil Nadu accounted for 6 per cent of the country's population, its water share was only two per cent.
“So, those who are living in Tamil Nadu are getting only one-third of the water available to other Indian citizens,” he said. The conference was organised by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil.
Quoting substantially from ancient Tamil literature to drive home the point that the Tamils had the expertise in water management, the Chief Minister also recalled the various schemes implemented by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government since it assumed office in 1967.
The scheme to construct check-dams unveiled in 2008-09 at the cost of Rs.550 crore had substantially increased the groundwater table in the State.
V.C. Kulandai Swamy, Vice-Chairman of the CICT, said the expertise of the Tamils in irrigation and water management had been exemplified by the fact that they went as far as southeast Africa to create an irrigation system. Dr. Kulandai Swamy, who is also a hydrologist, quoted German expert H.W. Flemming, that the Dravidians, pushed by the Indo-Germans, had enough initiative to penetrate into the southeast of the Africa and build irrigation work. Flemming was clear that the irrigation work in southeast Africa did not belong to the cultural influence of Egypt.
These installations set up by the Tamils had apparently helped the cultivation of mountain paddy, a peculiar variety of crops, he said, and quoted from Silapathikaram and Purananuru to support his argument that mountain paddy was cultivated in Tamil Nadu.Chairman of the Cauvery Technical Cell A. Mohanakrishnan said the ancient Tamils had excelled in effectively collecting rainwater and using the water for irrigation.
Former Director of Archaeology Natana Kasinathan, former TNCC president Kumari Anandan, S. Mohan, director CICT and K. Ramasamy, officer-in-charge, were among those who participated in the conference.
Earlier, the Chief Minister presented Tholkappiyar awards and awards for young scholars for 2005-2006, 2006-2007 and 2007-08.
The Tholkappiyar award for 2005-06 was given to Adigalasiriyar. Professor George L. Heart, Tamil Professor of the California University, who was selected for the award for 2006-07, could not make it to the function.