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“Pechipparai dam water must not be used for nuclear plant”

Staff Reporter
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Representatives of various farmers' associations here have opposed the release of water from Pechipparai dam to Kudankuam Nuclear Power Project at a farmers' grievance redressal day meeting here on Friday

Padmadas, president of Bhoomi Protection Movement, said that it was decided to draw water from Pechipparai dam for the nuclear project in 1988. But the farmers raised objection to the government's move and organised various agitations to oppose it. At this juncture, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam suggested the release of water from Pechipparai to KKNPP. At any cost, water from Pechipparai dam should not be released for nuclear power project.

The same issue was raised by various farmer association presidents such as Vins Anto and Eraniel tail-end area irrigation association president Chellappa.

However, Collector S. Madumathi made it clear that till date there was no communication or any official word regarding the distribution of Pechipparai dam water to KKNPP. But some farmers' representatives pointing out that pipelines had already been laid till the border of Kanyakumari district and asked the Collector whether it would be used for drawing water from Pechipparai dam. The Collector, however, asked the farmers not to believe in rumours.

The farmers' representatives also demanded the Collector to give permission to make use of sand desilted from various tanks in the cultivable land in order to enrich the fertility of cultivable land. The Collector said that those farmers who wanted to desilt tanks or ponds could sent a proper application during summer and without affecting the banks of the water bodies the desilted sand could be used for cultivable land. She also directed the officials of Public Works Department (PWD) to remove encroachments in all water bodies for the benefit of farmers.

Regarding a leakage in Mampazhathuriyaru dam, the Collector said that when the reservoir was handed over to the PWD officials, all the problems would be rectified. The government was issuing free goats to poor people and hence necessary steps would be taken to direct the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to issue loans liberally for the purchase of milch animals to ensure White Revolution in the district.

Farmers' associations also pointed out that although the production cost had increased considerably, farmers were not getting good returns for their paddy crop and demanded that the government should directly purchase it from the farmers. The Collector said that as per records, farmers had raised crops on over 22,000 hectares in two seasons and 11,000 hectares in single season. But while checking with the officials recently, she learnt that only 1,500 hectares of paddy had been raised so far in the second season.

She did not think that it would cross11,000 hectares. Also, among four taluks in the district, paddy cultivation was being carried out in two taluks only.

Hence the Tamil Nadu Civil Supply Corporation was not showing much interest in setting up of direct purchase centres. But the district administration asked them to consider this district as a special case.

Hence necessary steps would be taken to open direct purchase centres in the district for the benefit of farmers to get a good price for their paddy.

She also said that as directed by the Chief Minister, steps had been taken to issue farmers' security scheme identity cards those to those who were engaged in farming activities and farm-based industries.

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