Tiruneveli and Tuticorin districts to benefit; cost estimated at Rs.369 crore

Work on the first phase of the Tamiraparani-Karumeniyar-Nambiyar river interlinking project is likely to be completed by the year-end.

Nearly three-fourth of the work, covering two stages of the project, has been carried out. In three years of execution, Rs.160 crore out of the sanctioned Rs.213 crore was spent, said sources.

Estimated to cost Rs.369 crore, the project envisages utilisation of 2.765 tmcft (TMC), accounting for about 20 per cent of the surplus quantum of about 13.76 TMC, available on an average annually, in the Tamiraparani. The surplus quantum was assessed after studying 70 years' data on the amount of water released from the Srivaikuntam anicut, the last across the river, an official said. Meant to benefit Tiruneveli and Tuticorin districts, the project was mooted to divert the dependable portion of surplus from the Kannadian anicut channel to dry areas, including Sathankulam and Thisaiyanvilai, besides stabilising irrigation in certain ayacuts of the Manimuthar channel that face water shortage.

The diversion will be done by increasing the carrying capacity of the Kannadian channel and laying a new canal for 73 km. The 6.5-km-long Kannadian channel's carrying capacity will be increased from 450 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to 3,680 cusecs. A canal will be formed for 73 km, terminating at M.L. Theri, which is a sand dune. The new canal can carry 3,200 cusecs of water.

In the first phase, the component of the new canal will cover 39 km of the total length of 73 km. This extends over taluks such as Ambasamudram and Nanguneri. The next phase – third and fourth stages – will cover the remaining 34 km of the proposed canal. As work to widen the Kannadian channel can be taken up only from March to May in view of the water flow, It will resume in a few weeks. Though the State government is funding the project out of its resources, its Water Resources Department is trying to obtain Central assistance under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme. Once the nod is given, 90 per cent of the project cost will be borne by the Centre. The official said the Central Water Commission had cleared the project. Efforts were on to get environmental clearance.