TAMIL NADU

Incessant rain in Cuddalore district claims three lives

A.V. Ragunathan

Paddy on 15,000 ha face threat of destruction

CUDDALORE: The incessant rain that lashed Cuddalore district for the past four days has claimed three lives and rendered 57 villages, particularly those in the coastal areas, and samba paddy crops on 15,000 ha, vulnerable.

Seventy-year-old Mayawati of Chitharasur in Panruti taluk died in a wall collapse, and two unidentified bodies of men were washed ashore at Thalanguda coastal village.

Water is stagnating on paddy fields in tail-end areas of the delta region, including Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil, and if the rain continues for another couple of days, the newly transplanted crops would wither.

As against the average rainfall of 108.54 mm, the district received 220.40 mm of rainfall till Sunday morning. This has caused the speedy filling of water sources.

Even though the discharge from the Mettur dam (from where the Kollidam and the Veeranam tank get the supply) has stopped, heavy rain in the catchment areas is bringing about 2,500 cusecs of water through the Sengal Odai and the Karuvattu Odai to the Veeranam tank.

However, to safeguard the tank and protect the ayacut areas from flooding and to sustain water supply to Chennai, the tank level is being maintained at 43.9 ft (maximum level 47.5 ft).

Therefore, a total of 2,500 cusecs is being released from the tank through two channels — 2,000 cusecs to the Vellar through the Veeranam New Scheme Sluice System and 500 cusecs through the Velliyangal Odai.

Collector P. Seetharaman told The Hindu that going by past experience in which over-storage had caused floods, destroying crops downstream, water level in the Veeranam tank was being maintained at a manageable level.

He said that as of now the situation was not a worrying factor. But, if the rain continued, officials would have to deal with a tough situation.

Rs.20-crore project

The Collector said the ayacutdars of the Wellington reservoir in Thittakudi taluk were a concerned lot because about 600 m length of the bund had caved in.

Hence, water could be stored only up to 15 ft as against the maximum level of 29.7 ft.

This would obviously affect crop cultivation in the area and, therefore, as a confidence-building measure, he visited the place and interacted with farmers. Mr. Seetharaman said the Rs.20-crore project was now under way to build a core wall (alongside the damaged bund) and for the bund formation.

Three official teams had been deployed to monitor the level in the water sources.

Any information regarding flood situation could be communicated over the toll-free telephone number 1077, he added.

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