Madurai

Desilted by public, Vaeinthaankulam is overflowing now

Vaeinthaankulam tank in Palayamkottai, which was desilted with public contribution.

Vaeinthaankulam tank in Palayamkottai, which was desilted with public contribution.   | Photo Credit: A. Shaikmohideen

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The waterbody got a makeover with public contribution of over ₹10 lakh and has improved the groundwater table in the nearby residential areas

The timely desilting of a sprawling waterbody with public contribution and without causing any expenditure to the exchequer has borne fruits as the tank, which phenomenally jacks-up groundwater table in the residential areas around Vaeinthaankulam new bus stand in Palayamkottai during monsoon, is now overflowing, thanks to the active north-east monsoon and the initiative taken by district administration.

The most significant feature of this desilting work is that the officials led by the District Collector converted the exercise into a people’s movement by assigning the work to a team of senior citizens who mobilised and spent every rupee in a transparent manner.

Though water stored in Vaeinthaankulam is not used for irrigation, groundwater table in Xavier Colony, Perumalpuram, NGO Colony, Veeramanickapuram, Palayamkottai Central Prison, Florence Swainson Higher Secondary School campus etc. would improve extraordinarily during monsoon.

But discharge of drainage into the waterbody from the new bus stand, dumping of waste, mostly debris, and neglected bunds on the northern side of Vaeinthaankulam robbed the sheen off the tank.

As the waterbody, spread over 19.40 hectare, had not been desilted for decades and several truck loads of debris was dumped in the tank, the tank’s capacity had shrunk massively. When the officials identified a few sponsors for this exercise, the waterbody got a makeover with public contribution of over ₹10 lakh. Ever since the exercise was started, Tirunelveli Corporation Area Water Bodies Conservation Committee joined hands with Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish in identifying sponsors.

When the committee, after spending ₹3.50 lakh needed another ₹7 lakh to complete the exercise, sponsors were approached to complete this noble task. Moreover, the officials encouraged a few more sponsors to join hands with the committee members to complete the work by September. The committee that opened a bank account for this work accepted the contributions for the work only through cheques.

While inspecting the desilting work along with Anna University representatives, led by G. Sakthinathan, director of community services, who provided technical assistance, the Collector suggested creation of mounds inside the tank here and there so that waterbirds would come in large number. All the three surplus weirs on the waterbody were raised and strengthened as the tank was deepened significantly.

“The work was completed in a satisfying manner, the channels bringing rainwater to Vaeinthaankulam were also desilted. The sewage discharged from the new bus stand shops were stopped completely to protect the tank from getting polluted. Now, clean rainwater is brimming in Vaeinthaankulam,” says S. Muthusamy, secretary of the committee.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 1:21:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/desilted-by-public-vaeinthaankulam-is-overflowing-now/article30152156.ece

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