Madurai

Remove encroachments on 18-canal project: farmers’ body

The State government should immediately direct PWD engineers to remove encroachments along the 18-canal project to help irrigate over 50,000 acres of land, the Pathinettam Kaalvai Vivasaayigal Sangam (18-Canal Farmers’ Association, Thevaram) said on Tuesday.

A. Tirupathi Vasagan, coordinator of the Sangam, told journalists there were 51 tanks along the 18 canals. Most of the tanks were encroached with bushes and structures which had come up over the years. The PWD engineers should take up a survey and remove the encroachments. “It will be a right time to do it now as there is no water flow in the canal,” he said.

By doing so, not only water for irrigation would be assured for farmers in seven panchayats and 30 village panchayats having close to two lakh population, but drinking water would also become a reality for people in Gudalur, Cumbum and Bodi municipalities. Above all, water can be conserved for a longer duration in the tanks after encroachments were removed and milch animals too would benefit to a great extent.

“The Pathinettam Kaalvai was established with an objective to recharge the waterbodies and it is not an ayacut. Only when there is a surplus of water in the reservoir, the canal gets water. It is a chain of tanks,” said Sangam president P Ramaraj and suggested construction of sluices at four locations including Kombai, Renganathapuram and Thevaram.

The farmers’ association also wanted prohibition of sand mining, which damaged the natural resources and also interrupted free flow of water. The district administration should release water for irrigation for 120 days with an assured 100 cusecs of water, which has been the norm for other farmers’ associations in the district. Presently, they were getting 98 cusecs of water for 30 days.

In another resolution, the Sangam said that by forming a road between Kombai and Kerala and developing the Thevaram-Sakkaluthu Mettu Salai, not only farmers, but also the public can reach Kerala faster. Similarly, the members passed a resolution seeking expedition of the Dindigul-Kumuli Sabarimala Rail Project.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 12:22:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/remove-encroachments-on-18-canal-project-farmers-body/article32173109.ece

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