Farmers of the tail-end delta region here have set the agenda for political parties to follow in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. It has both inter-State and intra-State ramifications.
President of Kollidam-Keelanai Paasana Vivasayigal Sangam P. Vinayagamoorthy told The Hindu that the Sangam, which met at Kattumannarkoil on Friday, took stock of the farm scenario.
The tail-end delta region comprising Chidambaram, Kattumannarkoil, Kumaratchi, Bhuvanagiri and Parangipettai blocks, were solely dependent on the Cauvery for irrigation. Therefore, fortunes or otherwise of farmers of the region were linked to the flow in the Cauvery.
However, it was a matter of concern that even before complying with the Cauvery Water Tribunal awards, the Karnataka government had proposed to go ahead with implementing a hydel power project using Cauvery waters at an estimated cost of Rs. 600 crore. For safeguarding the interests of delta farmers in Tamil Nadu, the above mentioned project should be dropped. The Sangam also called for implementation of Saminathan Committee report that stated that minimum support price for paddy and sugarcane should be fixed 50 per cent over and above the production cost.
Owing to constant mining activity by Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the resultant pumping out of large quantum of water, sub-surface water reserve was fast depleting. Therefore, the Sangam put the onus on the NLC to replenish groundwater for which it ought to make an allocation of Rs. 1,000 crore. Through another resolution, the Sangam noted that the 180-year-old barrage at the Keelanai across the Kollidam was in dilapidated condition because of which vehicular traffic was not allowed on this crumbling structure for the past five years.
Moreover, during the recent rainfall when excess water was discharged, sluices in the ancient barrage got struck. As a result, about 20 tmcft of water drained into the sea within a week from August 7, 2013. Therefore, the Sangam stressed the need for constructing a barrage across the Kollidam at Adanur Kumaramangalam to prevent wastage of water.