TAMIL NADU

Sand mining destroysancient water channels

The channels were a source of water for irrigation in Kavanthandalam village —Photo: D. Gopalkrishnan

The channels were a source of water for irrigation in Kavanthandalam village —Photo: D. Gopalkrishnan  

Rampant sand mining activity on Cheyyar river bed has rendered the twin water channels, created 120 years ago near Kavanthandalam, useless.

The two channels — ‘pallakalvai’ (lower channel) and ‘mettukalvai’ (upper channel) — residents of this village said, used to bring the much-needed water for irrigation in and around Kavanthandalam from Cheyyar river.

A stone slab says 1895 — indicating the year of its construction.

While the lower channel branches off from the river near Kavanthandalam hamlet, the upper channel with nine-feet high walls constructed on the riverbed from Vayalathur in Tiruvannamalai district, enters near Magaral to drain river water into Kavanthandalam lake, they said.

Farmers said that earlier, they would start cultivating after monsoon as the flood water from natural springs in the river near lower channel would be tapped directly for irrigation.

For the second season, water stored in Kavanthandalam lake, which gets filled up by March, would be used for irrigation, said Anbu.

However, now with increasing real estate activity and sand mining, the natural springs on the river are vanishing with the level of water in the river bed going down, even below the 'pallakalvai’.

Sand mining has also affected ‘mettukalvai’ as here too, the flow has dwindled and the nine-feet-high walls are damaged at several spots, farmers said and appealed to the district administration to intervene and put an end to the menace before the problems worsen.

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