Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Public Works Department (PWD) has been urged to protect interests of farmers under the Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP).

In a memorandum, Medical K. Paramasivam, General Secretary of the Federation of the Presidents of Water Users of PAP Scheme, said the Government should first stop touts from collecting money from farmers who resorted to unauthorised pumping of water from the Manacadavu sluice.

Money was being collected from farmers by promising that there would not be any action against those resorting to unauthorised pumping. Similarly, the Government should take expeditious steps to end the “theft of water” from the Aliyar river i.e., the manacadavu sluice area.

Mr. Paramasivam said 22,000 acres in Kerala benefited from the PAP scheme. In Tamil Nadu 6,400 acres in old ayacut and 4.21 lakh acres in the new ayacut benefited from the scheme. As per the scheme, agricultural lands in the new ayacut were supposed to get water for 135 days once in two years. Even during good monsoon and adequate rain fall seasons, these agricultural lands were getting water for only a maximum of 90 days.

During the water release for 90 days, water used to be released for 17 days with a shutdown for seven days and water used to be released five times on a rotation basis in the main canals. In the sub-canals water used to be released for 15 days with a shutdown for two days. Ultimately, every farmer used to get water only for five days once in two years because of the rotation and shift systems resorted for ensuring water for every farmer. The main reason for the farmers being deprived of the projected quantity of water was the unabated theft of water by unauthorised pumping by unscrupulous farmers.

This practice was rampant on the Aliyar river from which water used to be released to Kerala through the Manacadavu sluice. This also resulted in Kerala not getting its due share of water on time which it was entitled to as per the PAP pact.

When the shortfall for Kerala raises, the PWD authorities in Tamil Nadu used to let the water bound for Thirumurthy dam into Aliyar. This again resulted in the due share of water not reaching the Thirumurthy dam.