TAMIL NADU

Signature campaign launched against check-dam across the Palar

NEW PROTEST: Volunteers of the Palar Protection People Movement obtaining signatures from people at Pullur bordering Andhra Pradesh. Photo D. Gopalakrishnan

NEW PROTEST: Volunteers of the Palar Protection People Movement obtaining signatures from people at Pullur bordering Andhra Pradesh. Photo D. Gopalakrishnan  

Staff Reporter

"If State does not act, Palar will turn a desert in near future"

PULLUR (NATRAMPALLI): Social activists of Vaniyambadi in Vellore district on Friday began a signature campaign to highlight the impact a check-dam planned by Andhra Pradesh across the Palar near Kuppam would have on the northern parts of Tamil Nadu.

The Palar Protection People Movement also held a meeting at Pullur. Speakers criticised the Tamil Nadu Government for not acting to stop the construction at Ganesapuram, despite clear indications that Andhra Pradesh planned to go ahead with the Rs. 270-crore project.

M.M. Basheer, who is spearheading the campaign, lamented that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was talking about interlinking of rivers without mentioning the Palar.

"If the State does not act, the Palar will turn a desert in the near future. The districts fed by the river will be parched. The State Government is duty-bound to ensure that Tamil Nadu gets its share of water."

He wondered why Tamil Nadu was dithering over its old proposal for check-dams across the river. Its plan to build a check-dam every 5 km was gathering dust. To protect the farmers of Vellore and Tiruvanamalai and Tiruvallur, the Government should build 20-30 check-dams. "The Palar runs for just 30 km in Andhra Pradesh and 90 km in Karnataka. To ensure the welfare of their people, these two States have built check-dams. Ironically, in Tamil Nadu, the river runs 220 km, yet the Government has not shown any interest in protecting this water source," he said.Furthermore, encroachments had `shrunk' the river. The Revenue department must remove these after conducting a survey.

He said the Movement would gather 10 lakh signatures and send them to Mr.Karunanidhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Another activist demanded that a commission be set up to monitor the flow of water from Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu. He urged college students in Vellore and other districts to take out rallies and persuade MLAs to take up the issue seriously.

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