CM inaugurates Morethana dam

VELLORE, SEPT.2. ``This Kamaraj regime has implemented what was started and left incomplete by the then Kamaraj regime,'' the Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, said today, inaugurating the Rs. 48.64 crore Morethana reservoir scheme, which was started during the Kamaraj regime of the Sixties.

In an obvious reference made earlier by the TMC MLA from Vellore, Mr. C. Gnanasekharan, that the foundation stone for the reservoir was laid during the Kamaraj regime in 1962, Mr. Karunanidhi said the schemes which were started during the Kamaraj regime would be completed by ``this Kamaraj regime'' since the DMK Government did not want the schemes started during the Kamaraj rule to remain incomplete.

Mr. Karunanidhi said the DMK Government had implemented several minor irrigation schemes which benefited the largest number of farmers during the last four-and-a-half years since it came to power. While major irrigation dams were constructed during the British regime and the Congress regime, the DMK Government concentrated on minor irrigation schemes so as to benefit the largest number of farmers.

The Morethana reservoir was one of the nine schemes implemented by the DMK regime under the World Bank-aided Water Resources Consolidation Project. The other schemes were the Rs. 14.93 crore Nambiar scheme, Rs. 17.69 crore Kodumudiar scheme, Rs. 38.19 crore Vadakku Pachiar scheme, Rs. 57.53 crore Adavi Nainar scheme (all in Tirunelveli district), Rs. 7.81 crore Poigaiar scheme (Kanyakumari district), Rs. 26.91 crore Sothupparai scheme (Theni district), Rs. 2.54 crore Kirudumal scheme (Virudhunagar district) and Rs. 1.36 crore Rajathope scheme (Vellore district).

He said that while the dam portion of the Morethana scheme that was inaugurated today cost Rs. 48.65 crores, the channels costing Rs. 53 crores would be constructed and completed within a year. Once completed, the total cost of the scheme would be Rs. 111.58 crores. A total of 15,398 hectares of ayacut lands would get additional irrigation on account of the scheme.

As against Rs. 568 crores allotted by the previous AIADMK regime for irrigation schemes, the DMK Government had allotted Rs. 1,902 crores of which a major portion had been spent on construction of reservoirs and dams. As against 57 minor irrigation schemes benefiting 11,809 hectares implemented by the AIADMK regime, 88 were implemented by the DMK regime, benefiting 40,033 hectares, he said.

More than 8,000 acres of ayacut lands in 15 village panchayats in Gudiyatham taluk, 16 panchayats in Katpadi taluk and 19 panchayats in Vellore taluk, would get irrigation from the Morethana scheme, and in all, 4,000 farmers families and 10,000 agricultural workers would benefit.

Mr. N.T. Shanmugam, Union Minister of State for Coal, requested Mr. Karunanidhi to sanction the Melarasambattu reservoir scheme in the Anaicut constituency, the only reservoir scheme pending in Vellore district. Mr. Shanmugam also requested him to take steps for the reopening of the Vellore District Cooperative Spinning Mills in Ariyoor.

Mr. Durai Murugan, PWD Minister, who presided, said the World Bank offered funds for more schemes. It had promised funds for projects to improve the Thamiraparani river and agreed to consider another proposal to improve the Palar.

Mr. Arcot N. Veerasamy, Health Minister, and Mr. K. Pichandi, Housing Minister, were among others who spoke. Mr. N.P. Gupta, PWD secretary, who welcomed the gathering, said 17 tanks would be fed by the Morethana reservoir constructed across the Goundanya river. Mr. T. Subramanian, chief engineer, PWD, Chennai, said the water table in 800 wells in the vicinity would rise on account of impounding water in the Morethana reservoir.

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