Special Correspondent

TNEC to stage demonstration in Chennai today

Signature campaign addressed to the Chief Minister to be undertaken

TNEC also demands white paper on water status in the State

SALEM: The Tamil Nadu Environment Council (TNEC) has urged the State Government to form an exclusive Ministry - Water and Water Resources Protection- to safeguard Tamil Nadu from looming water crisis and to address the flood and drought situations.

To press this demand, TNEC is holding a demonstration in Chennai on March 25 by carrying water from lakes, ponds and rivers from different parts of the State.

Those who participate include Nammalwar, Natural Agriculture Scientist, G.K. Mani president, Pattali Makkal Katchi , Bala Bharathi, State secretary, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), L. Antonysamy, State convener, TNEC, and Santhanakumar, State convener, Environmental Scientists Forum, along with other environmentalists and activists. A signature campaign addressed to the Chief Minister in support of the demand will be undertaken. District-level events such as rallies in support of the demand will also be organised.

According to TNEC convener, Antonysamy, Tamil Nadu constitutes seven per cent of India’s population, but has only three per cent of water. “Nearly 95 per cent of its surface water has been exploited forcing the State agriculture to face crisis. The forest cover in the Western and Eastern ghats and in the plains has come down to a mere 17.7 per cent.

Other major water bodies such as lakes, ponds, rivers are facing decay. The rapid urbanisation is destroying the water bodies.

Rapid sand mining reduces the water capacity of the rivers and ecosystems that support the agriculture. Chemical farming and the industrial sectors contribute to water pollution and the study of the Central Pollution Control Board shows that Cauvery water is not potable.

The status of the estuaries along the coast is a major concern. Deforestation of mangroves, removal of sand dunes for construction purpose and mining is causing an irreparable ecological damage. Water marketing by multi-national companies encourages further crisis.

There is no coordination among various Departments with respect to water usage and conservation such as Public Works Department , Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board , Agriculture Department, Fisheries Department, Forest Department, Industries Department, Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board.

The TNEC has also demanded a white paper on water status in the State.