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Vaiko launches tank desilting

By Our Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI, OCT. 12. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary, Vaiko, has embarked on a three-day mission of desilting a sprawling irrigation tank at his birthplace, Kalingapatti in this district, with the participation of villagers affiliated to various political parties.

``We don't want to wait for government assistance to reach us, as we intend completing the desilting operation before the onset of monsoon. Besides ensuring unhindered farming operations on over 400 acres of land by strengthening the 470-acre tank, we want to avoid any possible breach in the bunds,'' Mr. Vaiko, sporting a turban-like headgear, told reporters today.

Along with the villagers, he took clay soil in baskets and loaded it in tractors when the work began under the scorching sun. The villagers have volunteered physical labour, and also hired heavy equipment and tractors to complete the work within three days. The villagers are keen on strengthening the bunds, which breached in heavy rains seven years ago.

``We'll extend the exercise if it requires more time. Our dream is to see water brimming at the strong bunds and at the shutter of the new-look tank this year''.

Mr. Vaiko said he appealed to the MDMK functionaries to start desilting of irrigation tanks in their villages.

Though he travels widely, Mr. Vaiko comes to his village for Pongal celebrations and spends at least five days with his villagers and participates in sports events.

Last year Kalingapatti villagers refused to celebrate Pongal as he had been incarcerated in the Vellore Central Prison under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Now, Mr. Vaiko wants to ensure a bumper harvest in his village, by storing adequate water in the irrigation tank, and make the 2005 Pongal celebrations at Kalingapatti memorable.

Promoting sports

``We have plans to conduct inter-district volleyball tournament at Kalingapatti as part of our celebrations. Our family has donated a piece of land to set up a volleyball court and the players selected for the Kalingapatti team will be provided with all kits. We have also given half-acre of land for various other sports activities as I want to see the youngsters of Kalingapatti actively engaged in some sort of sport activity in the evening to keep themselves physically and mentally tough,'' said Mr. Vaiko.

He has plans to establish a `Marumalarchi Blood Donors Club' across the State in the near-future to help poor patients.

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