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Cleanse Orathupalayam dam: farmers

By Our Staff Reporter

KARUR, AUG. 19 . Taken aback at the sudden release of contaminated water from the Orathupalayam dam in Coimbatore district, farmers in Karur district have reiterated their demand to cleanse the reservoir and check the errant industries in Tirupur area from further polluting the river Noyyal.

`Usually, there would be a public announcement not to use the Noyyal water for irrigation or personal purpose prior to the release of polluted water.

But this time the practice has been given the go by and we were caught unawares,' says the Vangal Channel Ayacutdars Association president, M. C. Kandasamy.

Sources said that the Karur Collectorate got the information that 300 cusecs of polluted water was being released for four days from August 19, only around evening today.

Lack of proper coordination among those involved is disgusting, say the farmers.

The release comes at a time when farmers are getting adequate water in the Cauvery for irrigation after a pretty long time. As the polluted water mixes with the Cauvery, even those living downstream would be affected if they use the contaminated water, he adds.

The Noyyal's confluence with the Cauvery is at Kombupalayam, not far off the Noyyal anicut.

The river Noyyal, before being sullied by the effluent-mixed water from Orathupalayam, irrigated thousands of acres in Erode and Karur districts where betel vine, banana, sugar cane, turmeric and korai (reed grass) were raised.

After the construction of the Orathupalayam dam and turning it virtually into a textile effluent reservoir, the life of the ayacutdars and farmers changed dramatically deteriorating with every water release.

The authorities, after duly informing the public on the banks of the Noyyal, used to release water from the Orathupalayam dam, whenever enough quantum of water is released from Mettur Dam in the Cauvery.

Now following the delayed release of water for samba irrigation in the delta, farmers in the Noyyal-irrigated areas were passing restless days, dreading the impending release of water from the Orathupalayam dam. That the day would come up so soon, they never realised until today.

The polluted water from Orathupalayam has ruined the drinking water sources in the region.

The froth-filled water gushing through the Noyyal to slide into the Cauvery only dampens the spirit of the ayacut farmers who now have to seek potable water from elsewhere. Villages such as Velliampalayam, Valayapalayam, Mettukadai, Attipalayam and Uppupalayam have been badly affected.

Some farmers' organisations have been demanding compensation for the loss suffered and immediate cleansing of the Orathuapalam dam.

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