1,300 irrigation tanks, channels will be renovated

TIRUNELVELI, AUG.21. The Public Works Department Minister, O. Panneerselvam, today said over 1,300 irrigation tanks and all channels under the Tamiraparani and Chittaar divisions would be renovated on an outlay of Rs.455 crores with World Bank assistance under development works to be taken up by the Water Resources Organisation in the second phase.

Speaking at the third meeting of the Tamiraparani River Basin Management and Development Board held at Palayamkottai today, Mr. Panneerselvam said deepening of tanks, strengthening of bunds, repairing of shutters etc. would be carried out, as farmers of this district had been pressing this demand for long. Moreover, prevention water pollution would also be made under this programme.

"As a pilot programme of this project, the irrigation system under the Hanuman river basin is being improved at a cost of Rs.61 crores, involving various government departments," he said.

In the first phase, it was decided to renovate all irrigation tanks in the Ramanathapuram district at a cost of Rs. 74 crores and the first stage of this work had been completed on an outlay of Rs.24 crores, Mr. Panneerselvam said.

The Minister claimed that the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Government was "really performing well" in maintaining the highways in the State. The proposals of the representatives of the farmers' associations, which were put forward in the meeting, would be taken up for consideration.

Mr. Panneerselvam said industries, coming up in the State with heavy investments, had been told to set up desalination plants on their premises to operate their plant and meet the consumption of their employees, when the speakers at the meeting pointed out that the Tuticorin-based industries siphoned off a major portion of the water, leaving the farmers in the lurch.

The Ministers, Nainar Nagendran, Thalavai Sundaram, Anita R. Radhakrishnan and S. Karuppasamy and the Tirunelveli Collector, Atul Anand, the Tuticorin Collector, V. Chandrasekaran, MLAs appealed to Mr. Panneerselvam to take all-out efforts to ensure desilting of all irrigation tanks and channels in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts at the earliest.

When the farmers and Mr. Anita Radhakrishnan said the desilting of the Srivaikundam dam was imperative to provide water to all irrigation tanks under the reservoir, Mr. Panneerselvam agreed to the proposal.