River link project main demand of people in the tannery hub
The reversal of the damaged ecology and the revival of the Palar River appear to be the main issues on the minds of the voters in the Vellore Lok Sabha Constituency, comprising the Assembly segments of Vellore, Anaikattu, Keezhvaithinankuppam, Gudiyatham, Ambur and Vaniyambadi.
With acute water scarcity gripping the constituency, people are being forced to buy drinking water as well as non-potable water for general use on account of the drying up of Palar and the individual borewells, especially in Vellore. Hence, the issue of the river link project has gained more significance.
The president of the Vellore District Palar Protection Association, Jamuna Thyagarajan said that the unabated extraction of groundwater in the Palar river bed for providing and augmenting water supply to the municipalities and the Vellore Corporation, besides for industrial purposes has resulted in a situation where there is no water for agriculture.
“Whoever gets elected as MP from Vellore has to take steps to link the ever-flowing Nethravathi River in Karnataka to the dry Palar River in order to ensure perennial flow in Palar,” she said, adding, “the association at its meeting on Sunday resolved to vote only for the candidate who vows to work for the implementation of the river link project.”
Scientific methods have to be adopted to reverse the ecology of the river which has been polluted by the tannery effluents over the years, she said.
The urgent need for linking the peninsular rivers is also echoed by the well known educationist and former MP, G. Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT University.
Mr. Viswanathan, also a former State Minister said that linking of the southern rivers would not only solve the drinking water problems of Vellore district, but also of entire Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The new member of Parliament from here should also strive to bring a full-fledged airport for Vellore not only to cater to the patients coming to the CMC Hospital and tourists visiting the ‘golden temple’ (near Vellore), but also to pave the way for industrial development of the constituency and generate more employment, he said.
The sitting MP, M. Adbul Rahman (Indian Union Muslim League) contesting in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led front for a second time from Vellore in the coming Lok Sabha polls, said that he took steps to persuade the government to implement the river link project by persistently raising the issue in Parliament and that he would take steps to expedite it if he got re-elected.
B. Senguttuvan, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) candidate, said that he too would strive to push for the project since that would be the only solution to the water problem of Vellore district.
The Congress this time has fielded J. Vijay Ilanchezhian, son of former MP, late A. Jayamohan and Tamil Nadu Youth Congress president-in-charge, while the Bharatiya Janata Party which is also contesting from Vellore is yet to announce its candidate. The Aam Aadmi Party’s Imdad Shariff is in the fray too.
A five-cornered contest makes the poll race in Vellore with over 12.80 lakh voters that much harder. While it may not be a cakewalk for Mr. Abdul Rahman, a Chennai-based businessman engaged in IT and software consultancy services, again in the race (the IUML this time is contesting on its ‘Ladder’ symbol as a DMK ally), analysts see the poll battle in Vellore as substantially a fight between the AIADMK and the BJP.