The Grand Anicut or Kallanai will soon be a part of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) if efforts by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) pay off.
TNAU Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy told The Hindu that following suggestions from eminent agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, the institution had taken up the task and if the efforts fructified, it would be the 11th such heritage site in the country.
Mr. Ramasamy said that to understand the significance of the anicut, a comparison with the Godavari river system would be appropriate. Though the latter’s water resources were five times that of the Cauvery, it was Thanjavur that was called the Granary of the South.
It was because the Cauvery waters were well managed in the Delta and the anicut was on top of that.
It was only after Sir Arthur Cotton built a dam across the Godavari in 1891, on the lines of the Grand Anicut, that the Godavari Delta gained prominence. The uniqueness of the plough used in the Cauvery Delta region, the System of Rice Intensification technique, the thalady cultivation and the mangroves grown under the Delta eco made the place unique warranting it heritage status, he said.
The 329 metre-long, 18.3 metre-wide and 5.49 metre-tall anicut was constructed on inter-locking technology without cementing material. Chola King Karikalan constructed the anicut to divert the Cauvery water to the Delta for irrigation.
Mr. Ramasamy said the institution had submitted the draft proposal to the GIAHS secretariat, which had asked for a few more details.
The university would document the same and submit the revised draft.
As and when the GIAHS accorded the status, it would be the third such site in Tamil Nadu. And the recognition, according to the GIAHS website, would pave way for support for protective government policies and incentives for conservation of biodiversity and traditional knowledge.
The anicut was constructed on inter-locking technology without cementing material
The Chola King, Karikalan, built the dam to divert the Cauvery water to the Delta for irrigation