Madurai

Desilt channels before onset of monsoon, say farmers

Hurdles all the way: Palayam channel is full of debris and wastes of all sorts.

Hurdles all the way: Palayam channel is full of debris and wastes of all sorts.  

‘Ensure that water released for ‘kar’ paddy cultivation reached tail-end areas’

With the major irrigation channels passing through Tirunelveli clogged by weeds, debris and garbage, farmers have appealed to the Public Works Department to clear and desilt them immediately. They said the work must be done before the onset of southwest monsoon to prevent choking of the channels and to ensure that water released for ‘kar’ paddy cultivation reached even the tail-end areas.

Though the present storage level in the Papanasam, Servalar and Manimuthar dams is far from satisfactory as the catchment areas of these dams recorded deficit rainfall during last southwest and northeast monsoons, it is expected that the southwest monsoon, which is likely to become active in the first week of June, may bring some good influx of water into these prime reservoirs. The farmers have appealed to the PWD to start desilting exercise to clear the waste dumped into the Kodagan, Tirunelveli and Palayam Channels, having an ayacut of over 25,000 acres.

The 42-km Palayam Channel, which irrigates crops, especially paddy cultivated on 9,500 acres in 22 villages, is full of water weeds and waste materials. Though desilting of this channel was taken up in two phases in 2017, the work was not done in a proper manner and it remains in a bad shape.

“More than three-fourth of the channel, which originates at Pazhavoor and ends at Nochikulam, is filled with silt. Only if it is desilted will water reach the tail-end areas,” said farmer N. Saravanan of Kurichi in Palayamkottai.

In other channels too

The situation is no different in Kodagan and Tirunelveli channels too. As almost all irrigation channels in the district are either under rampant encroachment or face serious threat from dumping of garbage and debris, farmers frequently appeal to the State government to periodically desilt them.

“Since there is no mechanism to check dumping of waste in irrigation channels and remove water weeds that cause huge wastage of water, the PWD should draw an action plan for periodically desilting the Tirunelveli, Kodagan and Palayam Channels,” said farmer P. Velmayil of Tirunelveli.

However, the PWD officials here said there was no plan for desilting the three channels before ‘kar’ paddy season this year. “Based on farmers’ appeals, we’ve forwarded proposals to the State government for desilting the channels. We’re waiting for a favourable reply shortly as the model code of conduct is in force now,” a PWD official said.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 9:52:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/desilt-channels-before-onset-of-monsoon-say-farmers/article27139542.ece

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