Chennai

Residents demand swift execution of work to build five more checkdams across Palar river

After the successful execution of checkdams in Vayalur and Esoor-Vallipuram, the ambitious plan to build more checkdams across Palar river in the neighbouring districts is yet to take off, much to the dismay of residents.

Residents of Kancheepuram and Chengelpet districts have demanded that the five more checkdams proposed to be built this year to save floodwater that otherwise drains into the sea be completed. It may be recalled that the project was announced by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in 2017.

While the Water Resources Department had completed the project ahead of schedule in the tail-end of the river in Vayalur and Esoor Vallipuram in Madurantakam taluk, it is awaiting funds to begin work to build checkdams in five more places.

The department had planned to construct check dams in Vengadapuram, Vengudi, Ullavur, Alapakkam and Palur to retain flood water for better groundwater recharge. The project aimed at augmenting agricultural needs and improve drinking water supply to neighbouring areas.

For instance, the checkdam proposed in Vengadapuram would divert floodwater for irrigation needs of 1,211 hectares of lands and also provide 14 million litres a day for various water supply schemes. Despite two new checkdams, nearly 7,500 million cubic feet of water drained into the sea last monsoon, which could have been reduced, according to sources.

“The checkdams in Vayalur and Esoor-Vallipuram have retained water in Palar river for nearly four months now. The sites have also turned into tourist spots,” said P.Mani, a farmer in Kancheepuram district.

Residents noted that the check dams have improved groundwater table in the surrounding villages and helped cultivation of crops such as paddy, sugarcane and banana. The State government must step up measures to build other storage structures in a few months to reap benefits this year, they said.

R. Muralimohan, secretary, Madurantakam Co-operative Sugarmills Farmers Association said “groundwater table has improved by 40% in my Pulipurakoil village after Esur-Vallipuram checkdam. The water stored in Palar river would help agricultural needs for a year.”

Such checkdams must be built at an interval of every 5 km in Palar river. The height of the checkdams must be increased for better storage. The WRD must provide facilities like view point for tourists, he added.

Officials of the WRD said the project has been submitted to the government and funds were awaited to begin work.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:33:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/residents-demand-swift-execution-of-work-to-build-five-more-checkdams-across-palar-river/article31008688.ece

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