Stop Vaigai dam water to two private firms: Farmers

A dry Vaigai dam.  

Farmers here on Friday demanded that the supply of more than 12 lakh litres of water from the Vaigai dam to two companies be immediately stopped considering the acute water shortage prevalent in Madurai district.

The two companies pointed out by the farmers were Rajshree Sugars and Chemicals Limited (RSCL) and Tata Coffee, both located near the Vaigai dam.

Raising the issue at the monthly farmers’ grievance meeting, M. Pandian from Madurai District Farmers’ Association told Madurai Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao that it was unfair to supply lakhs of litres of water to these two companies when the entire district was staring at drinking water crisis.

Other farmers also joined the demand and urged the Collector to prioritise drinking water requirements over the requirement of the two companies.

Mr. Pandian also alleged that the Public Works Department had limitations in ensuring that only the permitted amount of water was being taken by the two companies.

Acknowledging the limitations, a PWD official, speaking on anonymity, later told The Hindu that both the companies were pumping water from the dam and PWD could not regulate their intake at the source.

“The officials can only inspect motor readings maintained by the companies to check how much they had taken,” he said.

Responding to the farmers at the meeting, PWD officials, however, said that the water provided to the two companies had now been reduced to around 6 lakh litres per day.

M. Muthupandian, an Executive Engineer with PWD, said, “They were being provided 1.5 cusecs for 24 hours every day (around 36.7 lakh litres per day). It has now been reduced to 0.5 cusecs for just 12 hours a day,” he said.

He added that further reduction in the supply may force the companies to stop their operations, which will, in turn, affect the livelihood of 1,300 people employed in the two companies.

Mr. Rao assured the farmers the situation will be analysed in detail and a decision would be taken appropriately.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 12:39:57 PM |

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