Principal Secretary, Public Works Department, S. Ramasundaram on Saturday inspected the ongoing work on linking Tamirabharani, Karumaeniyar and Nambiyaar to take surplus water of the perennial river to dry regions of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts.

The project, designed by the State Government on a massive outlay of Rs. 369 crore to take the excess water of the perennial river to the rain shadow regions of Nanguneri and Radhapuram taluks in Tirunelveli district and Sattankulam taluk in Tuticorin district, commenced on February 21, 2009.

After it was estimated that 13,758 million cubic feet (mcft) was wasted during every rainy season, it was decided to excavate a flood carrier canal from the existing Kannadian Channel at Vellankuzhi near Cheranmahadevi in Tirunelveli district to the drought prone area of Nanguneri, Thisaiyanvilai, Radhapuram and Sattankulam by interlinking Tamirabharani, Karumeniyar and Nambiyar rivers.

From Kannadiyan Channel, the Tamirabharani's surplus water of only 2,765 mcft would be taken to the irrigation tanks at Suviseshapuram, Pattancherry, Vijayaachchampaadu, Singachaavadi, Subramaniyapuram, Puthukkulam, Kalkulam, Nanthankulam, Yerumaikulam, Avichchaankulam, Aayankulampadugai, Aanaikudipadugai, Ilaikulam, Kadakulam, Puththantharuvai and M.L. Thaeri.

Connecting channels would be dug between the flood carrier channel and the Karumaeniyar (5,350 metre), the Nambiyar (6,700 metre) and the Manimuthar (2,500 metre).

Two check-dams at Maelodai and Keezhodai on the Sattankulam- Nazareth stretch would be constructed.

Once this Rs. 369 crore-project, to be executed in 72 packages, is completed, the surplus water of the Tamirabharani will irrigate 5,059 hectares (12,500 acre), quench the thirst of several lakhs of population and dramatically improve the groundwater table and provide succour to the crops of this rain shadow region.

To sustain the momentum of the ongoing work, the State Government, after releasing Rs. 50 crore for preliminary works, allocated Rs. 126 crore in the recent State Budget.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting the work, Mr. Ramasundaram said over 80 per cent of the land required for this project had been acquired even as 20 per cent of the flood carrier channel excavation work had been completed. “No hamlet will be affected by this river-linking scheme,” he assured.

Mr. Ramasundaram also informed that similar river-linking project to connect Palar, Cheyyaar and Thenpennai rivers would be executed to benefit the northern districts.

Cheranmahadevi Sub-Collector K. Veeraraghava Rao, Chief Engineer, PWD, Madurai Region, Ramamurthy and other top officials accompanied the PWD Secretary.