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Ministers, officials to allay apprehension of residents

By Our Staff Reporter

ARIYALUR, DEC. 23 . A team of ministers and officials from the Chennai Metrowater and Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board will visit 25 villages in Tirumanur and T. Pazhur blocks in Perambalur district on December 24 and 25 to allay the apprehensions of the residents about any possible groundwater depletion in view of the proposed extension of the New Veeranam Project.

Stating this while presiding over the farmers' grievance day meeting held here today, the Collector, D. Vivekanandan, said that the foundation stone laid by the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, on December 14, would involve setting up of six giant wells at an outlay of Rs. 300 crores.

He said the extension scheme was only an alternative to the New Veeranam Project for supply of drinking water to Chennai. Water would be pumped from these wells only in case of acute shortage when supply from the Veeranam in the Cuddalore district got dwindled. These wells would serve only as a stand-by arrangement.

Even the daily emergency drawl would be just between 150 and 180 million as against the capacity of 2,300 million litres, he said asking farmers not to give any credence to rumours in this regard.

The Collector said the Local Administration Minister, K. P. Anbhazhagan, the Agriculture Minister, K. Pandurangan, the Environment and Forest Minister, Vaithilingam, and the Rural Development Minister, B. Valarmathi, along with the Deputy Speaker, A. Arunachalam, would visit about 25 villages including Elakurichi, Kuruvadi, Thoothur, Vizhipunankurichi and Tirumanur in Tirumanur block and Sripurandhan, Udhayanatham and Kodali Karuppur in T. Pazhur block and address the residents.

The Managing Directors of the Chennai Metro Water and TWAD Board, V. Thangavelu and S. Karuthiah Pandian respectively, along with other technocrats and engineers would accompany the team. Divided into groups, they would tour the villages simultaneously and a minister would lead each group, the Collector said.

Apprehension

Earlier, a number of farmers expressed their apprehension about the Project. They said they were already hard hit by the drought conditions and their agricultural operation would be totally hit if the available groundwater was also tapped. The district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, Ulaganathan, the State secretary of the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, R. Raja Chidambaram, the district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasyigal Sangam, R. Nallusamy, and a progressive farmer, Nagarathinam spoke.

They urged the Collector to impress upon the State Government on the depleting groundwater table in the district.

The Collector said the direct purchase centre at Ariyalur would not be wound up and asked the farmers to supply their produce to the centre.

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