National Water Development Agency conducting a detailed investigation on the project

The early implementation of the Thenpennai-Palar link project has assumed significance in the light of the severe water scarcity that has gripped different parts of Vellore district.

Vellore district has been witnessing law and order problem on a daily basis with residents blocking roads demanding proper water supply in some part of the district or the other. While most of the borewells and infiltration wells of the Vellore Corporation and other municipalities and town and village panchayats in the Palar river have gone dry, the groundwater table has seen a steadily depletion in places like Vellore over the past one year, forcing the residents to sink new borewells 400 to 600 feet deep in order to ensure themselves a permanent source of water in their houses.

Those who could not afford to sink new borewells or who have no space in their houses to undertake the operation have been depending on street taps or private suppliers for water.

On Saturday, the Jolarpet Municipality had to commence the work on sinking three additional borewells in the Palar River in Ambalur with tight police security in view of the objections of the local people to the exploitation of groundwater sources in the Palar in their village for fear of being deprived of water for agriculture.

Under these circumstances, farmers have been urging the government to expedite the implementation of the Thenpennai-Palar link scheme which was announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the Assembly last year. As per the pre-feasibility report of the Pennaiyar-Palar link scheme prepared by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA), the Pennaiyar (Krishnagiri)-Palar Intra State Link envisages transfer of 99 cubic million of water, annually available at Krishnagiri dam as flood flow to the Kallar, a tributary of Palar River in the adjacent basin through 55.7 km-long canal by gravity during the months of October to December for 15 days at the rate of five days in each month.

The diverted water is proposed to be utilised for recharging the groundwater potential of Palar basin and thereby to stabilise the existing command area of about 11,870 hectares being irrigated through the existing wells and borewells. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 257.93 crore.

In reply to a petition sent by A.C. Venkatesan, councillor of Udayendram town panchayat and chairman of the Tamil Nadu Non-Governmental Organisation and Construction Workers Green Conservation Association to the Chief Minister’s Special Cell pleading for the expeditious implementation of the project in view of the ban imposed by the Central Ground Water Board on drilling borewells in Gudiyatham, Jolarpet, Pernambut and Tirupattur areas identified as over-exploited, R. Selvam, Chief Engineer, Plan Formulation, Water Resources Organisation, Chennai, stated that the project is under the consideration of the Government of India.

Investigation for the interlinking of the river from Pennaiyar (Nedungal anaicut) to Palar is being done by the NWDA. He said that after completion the detailed project report would be prepared and sent to the government for approval.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National