Madurai

Farmers and villagers stage road roko

Demanding release of water for irrigation and drinking purpose, thousands of farmers and villagers including women and children resorted to road roko along the Dindigul-Batlagundu road here on Tuesday.

A large posse of police personnel led by DIG of Police (Dindigul Range) M S Muthusami and Superintendent of Police Ravali Priya chased away agitators and arrested 286 people.

The protesters raised slogans and refused to give way for motorists. Because, a large number of habitations including Mallayapuram, Veerakal, Anumantharayan Kottai, Paarati, Ponmaanthurai did not get water from the river for almost eight years. Water from the Kamarajar dam had been flowing into the Kudaganaru from time immemorial. The water used to flow into the Cauvery near Karur district after flowing for about 110 km covering several habitations on the way. But the flow of water into the Kudaganaru stopped eight years ago when a check dam was constructed at Raja Vaaikaal.

‘We used to get water for at least six months in a year,’ Karuppiah, a farmer from Ponmanthurai, told reporters and added that a series of agitations over the last three years including non-participation in the local body polls did not fetch any result. When the villagers resorted to agitations last month continuously, officials released water in the Kudaganaru for about 10 days but suddenly suspended it without any reason, another farmer, Vincent Arockiam, said. So, they decided to resort to wait-in protest until officials conceded their demand. The police, who were taken aback after seeing a large turnout, ensured that more personnel were deployed. When the agitators were told that the revenue and PWD officials would hold a joint meeting with all representatives, they refused to agree to the initiative. So, the police decided to arrest the villagers. As many of them dispersed, they arrested 286 people and released them later in the evening.

The police said that they would register cases against the villagers for violating the Disaster Management Act, among others. Meanwhile, the villagers accused the officials of misleading them and threatened to boycott the ensuing Assembly polls if water was not released in Kudaganaru soon.


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 8:04:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/water/article32958090.ece

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