The continuous downpour has brought to fruition the strenuous efforts of farmers and residents of Sengalkudi near Mathur on the border of Tiruchi and Pudukottai disticts to revive a large waterbody, all by themselves, without the support of government departments, after 15 years.
Just a week ago, the Sengalakudi Big Eri was replete with extensive growth of plants, bushes and accumulation of silt along the 2-km outlet channel from a dam bearing the same name, preventing the flow of water into the lake in the village. Repeated complaints to the Public Works Department and other officials of Pudukottai district to desilt the channel had gone in vain, say villagers.
When almost all tanks, ponds and the Sengalakudi dam in the Viralimalai region brimmed to their capacity in the earlier spell of heavy rain, the Sengalakudi Periya Eri (big tank) remained dry due to the blockages on the outlet channel.
The situation triggered farmers and youngsters of the village into getting their act together to desilt the channel and inlet points, on a war footing, to streamline flow into the tank. While a section of residents came forward to provide manual work, others contributed money for the task.
Their dream transformed into reality within three days. The tank gets copious inflow from the Sengalakudi dam and other overflowing tanks. The tank, on a 168-hectare spread, is on the verge of reaching its maximum capacity.
“It is celebration time for us, as the tank is getting filled after 15 years. The credit goes to all like-minded residents of our village,” says M. Velusamy, former president of the village.
The tank is expected to irrigate about 700 acres of agricultural fields in Melakadu, Seethapatti, Melapatti and Pudunagar, besides fulfilling the drinking water needs of the village for at least a year.
Mr. Velusamy said the desilted channel had not only enabled flow into the tank but also regulated the watercourse. Otherwise the overflowing water from the dam and other tanks would have caused flooding in the village, he said.
A senior PWD official acknowledged the receipt of the petitions from the villagers, and said government funding was being awaited for the works.