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Restrain water extraction: farmers

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, SEPT. 24. The Pattali Vivasayi Sangam, farmers wing of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), has moved the Madras High Court seeking to restrain the Tamil Nadu Government from tapping or extracting water from the 45 giant borewells sunk between Sethiathope and Panruti.

Contending that the 900-foot borewells, sunk within a radius of 30 km, extracted about 1 crore litres of groundwater daily, for drinking purposes of Chennai, its president, K. Sadagopan, said it posed a big threat to agricultural operations in Cuddalore and Chidambaram districts.

Though sinking giant borewells was not originally a part of the Rs. 720-crore New Veeranam Project, since the Veeranam lake did not have sufficient water storage, about 50 per cent of the water required for Chennai was now being extracted from these borewells, the petitioner said.

He apprehended that such a largescale exploitation of groundwater would result in drastic fall in the water table, leading to seepage of seawater.

Accusing the Government of creating a ``dangerous situation,'' Mr. Sadagopan said it must avoid the calamity by stopping the project at least now, otherwise both the land and water available in the region would be spoiled.

Such a loss ``could not be compensated in terms of money,'' he said, adding that already a large number of farmers had started suspending agricultural operations. Any further delay would lead to migration of the rural populace towards towns, he said. The very livelihood of the local people could not be permitted to be taken away for ensuring drinking water for people in Chennai, he submitted.

Praying for an interim injunction forbearing the Government and its agents from in any manner tapping or extracting groundwater through the 45 giant borewells, Mr. Sadagopan said the court must constitute a committee of experts to assess the damage cause to farmers in the region and submit a report.

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