Coinciding with the commemoration of the 100th week of their formation, Citizens for Uyyakondan, an action group, has drawn up a plan to reach out to students in schools and colleges to help conserve the century-old canal in Tiruchi.
The Uyyakondan canal, said to have been built by Raja Raja Cholan nearly 1,000 years ago from the Cauvery near Pettavaithalai to a 70-km length up to Vazhavanthankottai tank, used to irrigate about 32,000 acres of agricultural land in the district.
Now, the canal has been polluted by drainage channels across the city, the volunteers say.
The volunteer group has set up signboards conveying the history and benefits of the canal, painted the walls of the bank with colourful paintings and even set up a children’s park with play materials made of discarded tyres painted in various hues, an 800-metre walking track with fence along Uyyakondan (north bank) with provision for water percolation, and a model sewage treatment plant.
This year, they have formulated an ABC plan- Awareness, Bank Restoration and Cleansing of water. “The youth are now taking interest in this initiative and we are channelling their contributions. We have appointed coordinators for each plan and will be working towards it for the next 52 weeks,” said Manoj Dharmar, a volunteer.
A website outlining the history, map of the Uyyakondan canal and also weekly updates on our work will be uploaded. “We are aiming to create awareness through social media,” he said. “Competitions such as elocution, drawing for school children and short film making, photography, etc., for college students is in the works,” Mr. Dharmar said.
“The main reason is the young people in the city are not aware about the historic uniqueness of the canal. They assume that it is a drainage channel. Only if they know the importance will they even think about conserving it," he said.