Inadequate fund allocation hits Noyyal river system revival

Inadequate fund allocation is hampering the ambitious Noyyal river system revival or restoration project and the meagre allocation of Rs. 30 lakh per annum is just proving to be insufficient even for carrying out emergency repairs to the channels and tanks.

Noyyal that originates in Western Ghats near Poondi and runs through Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode, to become a tributary for Cauvery, is the lifeline of these districts. It runs for 65 km in Coimbatore, 34 in Tirupur and 39 in Erode before joining river Cauvery in Kodumudi. The system was once catering to the irrigation needs of over 36,000 acres.

Poor maintenance and encroachments along the river, channels and water bodies have resulted in the considerable shrinking of the width of the river and channels.With inadequate funds, only urgent maintenance works were being taken up and the ambitious project is taking a strong beating.

Restoration of the system within the Coimbatore division is allocated Rs. 30 lakh and the same is to be spent on maintaining the 80 km route, along the length of the river, 31 tanks, 23 anaicuts and 92 km of supply channels to the tanks.

Ammankulam was declared not a water body in 2006, Andipalayam and Mannarai became defunct to a considerable extent in 2009, Sottayandikuttai and Ganga Narayana Samudram also faced the same fate, while tanks such as Vellalore, Kurichi, Selvampathy, Ukkadam, Valankulam and the Kumarasamy tank could be used only to from 50 to 80 per cent of their capacity.

PWD sources said that the revival of the river and its systems will help in irrigating thousands of acres and also in recharging aquifers, for improvement of ground water table.

Even the discharged but treated sewage water had helped in ground water recharge in the tanks beyond Singanallur, till Mannarai. Total Dissolved Solids, ranging only from 700 to 1000 units in treated sewage water, could be used for agriculture and ground water recharge though not for drinking water purposes, whereas untreated water was found to be containing closer to 2000 units, which led to the spoiling of Noyyal system in Tirupur region, officials said.

PWD officials are hoping that the proposed Rs. 150 crore for the project comes through early.

Considering the huge estimate, officials expect the project to take off with foreign funding, so that the restoration of the system could be done in a project spanning over three or four years.

Poor maintenance and encroachments have resulted in the considerable shrinking of the width of the river