Madurai

Tanks are full and Madurai residents happy

A spectacle: A brimming Thenkal kanmoi near Tirupparankundram.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

On his way to work, S. Radhakrishnan, a resident of Gomathipuram, stopped at Melamadai to enjoy the water overflowing from Vandiyur tank. It is almost five years since this much water is overflowing, he says as the sound of gushing and swirling waters almost submerges the excited shouts of those fishing in the waters.

This north-east monsoon has brought with it copious rains and almost all the tanks in the city and suburbs are brimming with water. Near Tirupparankundram, waterbodies such as Koothiyarkundu tank are full. For farmers, a bountiful paddy harvest season is in waiting.

Madakulam, the biggest tank in Madurai district, is not only full but throbs with life too. The sound of chirping birds is heard above the gentle splash of waters hitting the shore. Karthik from Muniyandipuram says though quite a tidy sum was spent by way of ‘kudimaramathu,’ the work was not done in a sustained manner. As a result, wild bushes strangle the waterbody on all sides. Walking on the bund, one can see surface runoff having carved out its path from the nearby hillock to the waterbody. If rejuvenation of the tank is not done, they may turn into breaches, says Mr. Karthik.

For V. Manjula, a homemaker from Bank Colony on the other side of the Vaigai, filling up of Nainarkulam has come as a big relief. She says construction of the elevated corridor on New Natham Road has actually helped in desilting the tank and strengthening of its embankments.

A. Chelliah, a realtor in K. Pudur, points out that waterbodies in areas such as Kadachanendal and Surya Nagar are not properly demarcated leading to temporary structures being built on the edges. Pointing out to Kodikulam, he shows how encroachments, piling up of garbage and wild growth of weeds and bushes have led to the shrinking of the tank.

‘It’s a process’

N. Venkatesan, Programme Leader, Dhan Foundation, says, “Maintenance of waterbodies has to be a continuous process, as tanks had not been desilted in the past two years due to COVID-19 pandemic. During peak summer, when tanks are dry, desilting work would be taken up but due to the lockdown it was not possible.”

This year, it is due to the bountiful rains that all waterbodies are full. Not just rains in catchment areas of the tanks helped but the rains that lashed across Madurai has added to the capacity of these tanks.

Some tanks like Sakkiliankuzham and Chichillipai near Kadachanendal, which never fill up, were for the first time seeing outflow of surplus water. “Hence, we cannot say desilting helped fill up the 56 kanmois within the Corporation limits. It was thanks to the above average rainfall that the district received in November, well exceeding 60 mm,” Mr. Venkatesan adds.

Now, what is needed is proper annual maintenance of these waterbodies by the government so that the water table is sustained in the days to come.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 5:13:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/tanks-are-full-and-madurai-residents-happy/article37853907.ece

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