Saturday, Sep 18, 2004
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By A.V. Ragunathan
CUDDALORE, SEPT. 17. Setting at rest the controversy over the New Veeranam Project, Metrowater officials have linked the vital portion of the pipeline to the Boothangudi point at Sethiathope, the farthest western-end of the Veeranam tank in this district.
Till now there was a yawning gap between the drawal point at Boothangudi and the main pipeline. Even though the pipeline is being fed by tapping groundwater by giant borewells, an impression has been created that the water is being drawn from the Veeranam tank.
The hitherto dry Veeranam tank held out bleak prospects for meeting the requirements, but the hopes are now revived with the recent spells of rain and water release from the Mettur dam. The water level in the tank stood at 41 feet today.
Now, a hexagonal intake tower with a red roof has been built at Boothangudi to draw 190 million litres of raw water per day (mld). Testing and trial run have been successfully completed.
The raw water would then be pumped through the pipeline to Vadakuthu, about 20 km away, for treatment. The treated water would be taken to the break pressure tank at Kadampuliyur, from where it would be fed into the pipeline to Chennai, by gravity.
At Boothangudi, six giant pumpsets have been installed, and whenever the water situation in the tank is comfortable, four of the pumpsets would go on stream, and the other two would remain stand by.
Official sources said now the entire pipeline of the New Veeranam Project was in place, and it was only a matter of time before water from the tank flowed to Chennai.
A lot of dust was kicked up when groundwater was tapped, and once the tank level reached a comfortable level, the sceptics would swallow their words, the sources said.
The sources said that against carping criticism, the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, stood steadfast and saw to it that the project was implemented as per the plan.
They said once the Veeranam tank water started flowing, the giant borewells would fall silent, and these would be energised only whenever exigencies arose.
The farmers and the general public in the Panruti and Neyveli region might heave a sigh of relief over the completion of the New Veeranam Project, as it would put an end to indiscriminate drawal of groundwater.
But the ayacutdars under the Veeranam tank are apprehensive that once the project is implemented, the quantum of water supply to them would dwindle.
They expect the Government to do justice to them.
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