A parched Manapparai awaits industrial development

The predominantly agrarian, Manapparai constituency, which was formed by a delimitation process in 2008, has a mixed population of farmers, farm labourers and construction workers.

Until delimitation, most of the areas were part of the Marungapuri constituency. There are three panchayat unions – Manapparai, Marungapuri and Vaiyampatti in the Manapparai constituency.

Since Independence, Manapparai has been one of the most backward among the nine constituencies in Tiruchi district. In the absence of assured water source for irrigation, farmers in all the three unions are dependent on monsoon for cultivation.

Due to poor monsoon over successive years, hundreds of wells have dried up in the region. Borewells are the main source of irrigation. In spite of difficulty in sourcing water for irrigation, farmers here toil hard to raise crop such as brinjal, tomato, green chilly, spinach and millets. Thanks to the fertility of the soil, brinjal cultivated in villages surrounding Manapparai and Vaiyampatti has a good market in the neighbouring Dindigul and Madurai district. The ‘Manapparai kathirikai’ known for its good taste.

Allied agricultural activities such as dairy and cattle farming are the other sources of livelihood. A small percentage of people are engaged in cottage industries, with “Manapparai Murukku” and “Manapparai Madu” enjoying a special status among the people.

But due to frequent failure of monsoon, a section of the electorates has migrated to Tiruppur, Erode and Karur for employment. Another group of people have moved to Tiruchi and other areas for construction activities.

Though the constituency has vast tracts of barren land and good road connectivity, there has not been much industrial development. Neither the State government nor the entrepreneurs come forward to use the vast tracts of land for setting up new industrial units. Drinking water crisis and lack of employment opportunities have been the major issues of the electorates for long. The Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage Board (TWAD) has a couple of combined water schemes to Manapparai and its surrounding villages. But many residents get water supply once a week.

“We do not have words to describe the sufferings of the people due to acute water scarcity. It has been a perennial problem. No elected government in the past has come forward to find a permanent solution to the crisis,” says N. Ponnusamy, a resident of Manapparai.

There has been a strong pitch for a Government to start Arts and Science College in the constituency as the students have to mainly depend upon colleges in Tiruchi to pursue higher studies.

Manapparai constituency has been the favourite bastion of the AIADMK. Since its formation after the delimitation in 2008, its candidate R. Chandrasekar has won twice in 2011 and 2016 consecutively. In 2011 Assembly election, he defeated his nearest rival professor and former Minister K. Ponnusamy (Independent) by a margin of 28,299 votes. He obtained 52,721 votes. Mr. Chandrasekar retained the constituency in 2016 election by defeating DMK bagged Indian Union Muslim League candidate M.A. Mohamed Nizam by a margin of 18,277 votes. Before the delimitation, the constituency was called Marungapuri. Out of 11 Assembly elections since 1977, the AIADMK had won 6 times, the DMK 4 and the Congress 1.

The constituency has a total electorate of 2,88,990 as on January 20. There are 1,41,503 women and 1,47,475 men. There are 12 third genders in the list.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 7:48:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/a-parched-manapparai-awaits-industrial-development/article34020922.ece

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