Madurai

Constitute committee for water management: PIL plea

Petition says water theft, groundwater exploitation affecting Cumbum Valley farmers

MADURAI

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday ordered notice to the State on a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to constitute a monitoring committee to oversee water supply to the ayacut lands of Cumbum Valley in Theni district.

A direction was sought to the State to constitute a committee comprising officials of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board, Public Works Department, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation and farmers association of the region to monitor water supply.

A Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi ordered notice to the State on the petition filed by T. Vijay Rajan, representing a Theni-based farmers association. The petitioner said that illegal drawing of groundwater in the region should be stopped.

He said that Cumbum Valley had a long history of paddy cultivation. However, the precious resource was increasingly being monetised by unscrupulous persons, which directly affected the supply of water and the livelihood of Cumbum Valley ayacut farmers.

Several representations had been sent to the government regarding the main factors affecting the farmers that included poor water management, insufficient water storage in tanks due to encroachments and poor maintenance, water theft from Periyar river and exploitation of groundwater in the ayacut areas.

In the last 10 years, water theft from Periyar river and excessive drawing of groundwater from ayacut areas to non-ayacut areas had increased, affecting cultivation in the region. Several water cartels had mushroomed and they were exploiting groundwater, the petitioner said.

The theft of water had resulted in crop failures and, in turn, affected the livelihood of the farmers. The modus operandi of the cartel was to buy a piece of land in the ayacut region, drill borewells along with pipelines and draw water.

The petitioner said that the PWD must take steps to stop these illegal acts.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 2:48:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/constitute-committee-for-water-management-pil-plea-madurai-cumbum-valley/article30992834.ece

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