For the first time, removal of waste dumped along the Chittar river watercourse for decades and waterweeds grown abundantly in the river, flowing for about 86 km from Courtallam to mix up with the perennial Tamirabharani beyond Gangaikondan near here, commenced at Courtallam on Wednesday.
The district administration has joined hands with Anna University in this noble exercise with the backing of a few organisations and individuals, who will sponsor the heavy equipment required for removing the waste, waterweeds and the encroachments.
Though the waterfalls at Courtallam experience heavy flood for a couple of days during the southwest monsoon every year, most of the irrigation tanks getting water from this seasonal river continue to remain bone-dry owing to badly damaged bunds at several places, encroachments and the waste and debris dumped in the river.
Consequently, the farmers getting water from Chittar river, especially the agriculturists having cultivable lands beyond Paavoorchathram, cannot start farming operations between June and September as there would be no water in the river.
As a team of Anna University’s Regional Office here, led by then Dean G. Sakthinathan, who is presently serving as Deputy Director of Anna University Constituent Colleges, Chennai, removed the protruding rocks following comprehensive survey done by them along the Chittar River watercourse from Veerakeralampudhur to bring the water to Maanur ‘Periyakulam’ a couple of years ago, the official machinery entered the scene by evicting encroachments.
Now, the team led by Dr. Sakthinathan has commenced the exercise from Courtallam, the starting point, with the help of a couple of organisations and a few individuals.
Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish, who flagged off the exercise at Courtallam on Wednesday, asked Dr. Sakthinathan and his team to survey the entire watercourse of Chittar river to make this exercise more effective and meaningful.
“In the first phase, which will be completed within ten days, cleaning of Chittar river will be taken-up for 5 km and the exercise will continue in phases to conserve the 86-km-long river,” Ms. Shilpa said.
Dr. Sakthinathan, who has rich experience in reviving this river when he and his team worked a couple of years ago from Veerakeralampudhur to Maanur, said the locals living along Chittar watercourse should join in this noble exercise. “If we can complete the cleaning of the river by removing the waste and the encroachments from the watercourse, it will invigorate farming operations in this region. Hence, the beneficiaries should join hands with us,” said Dr. Sakthinathan, who feels that the first phase of this exercise from Courtallam to Tenkasi would be challenging.
“The quantum of plastic waste and the empty bottles removed from the river on day one was immeasurable… We’re strangulating the river by dumping waste into it. Moreover, the ancient granite ‘mandapams’ along the watercourse of Chittar should also be revived to its old glory.
Revenue officials have been instructed to remove the permanent and temporary encroachments along the Chittar River watercourse to facilitate the ongoing exercise.