Pipes sink, problems surface

CUDDALORE, JUNE 1. With intermittent rain lashing various parts of the State, problems are dogging the project to carry borewell water from the Neyveli area to Chennai. Uncovered portions of trenches dug for laying the pipeline continue to be inundated with rainwater.

Earlier, when the pipeline was empty, stagnant water pushed up the pipes. After the trial run of letting water in the pipeline began, the pipes have become heavy and have started sinking into the soil.

Officials deputed to monitor the dewatering operation at these points say that as the "loaded pipes" have become heavy, the soft soil has given in. With the forecast favouring good rain in the days to come, there is still a possibility of the pipes sinking further, and therefore, the officials are evacuating water from the trenches fast.

At Kootteripattu, about 10 km from Tindivanam, three oil engines have been pressed into service to drain the trenches. Water is let out just across the road.

The officials said once water was drained, the trench-bed would have to be strengthened and the alignment of the pipeline adjusted.

Generally, loose soil is dumped on the pipeline, and after the rain, it has become slushy all along the route. At many places, the pipeline remains exposed, and therefore, it is feared corrosion will soon set in, reducing the durability of the mild steel pipes.

CPI to stage dharna

Meanwhile, the Cuddalore district secretary of the Communist Party of India, T. Manivasagam, said his party, along with farmers' organisations would stage a dharna at Vadalur on June 5, urging the State Government to give up the project of tapping groundwater for Chennai.

He made it clear that his party was not against the execution of a suitable project to meet the drinking water requirements of the Chennaiites.

Indiscriminate prospecting of groundwater would affect the farmers and the people in the Panruti-Neyveli region, he said.