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Proposal to draw water from farmwells flayed

Special Correspondent

They fear largescale extraction will severely deplete the water table

Photo: K. Manikandan

Residents of Zamin Pallavaram and members of the Revolutionary Youth Front protesting against a scheme to draw water from farm wells on Friday. —

TAMBARAM: Residents of Zamin Pallavaram and members of Revolutionary Youth Front staged a demonstration on Friday, urging the State government to stop a proposed scheme to transport water from farm wells.

They were protesting as they feared that largescale extraction of groundwater, for a group of schools and colleges, would severely deplete the water table in their locality.

Vel’s Group of Institutions in Pallavaram has a number of schools and colleges with a combined strength of about 6,000 students . To provide adequate water supply, the Group proposes to lay pipelines for one-km distance to transport water from farm wells.

Opposing this , residents of localities in Wards 11, 12 and 13 of the Pallavaram Municipality staged the protest with members of the youth organisation near the Pallavaram police station.

They said several farm wells were located on either side of Dargah Road and those engaged in the business of water supply were already plundering the precious resource.

The proposal to transport water from these wells to the educational institutions would only affect the ground water table, they said.

By transporting large quantities of water through pipelines, water level in domestic wells in Tiruvalluvar Nagar, Renuka Nagar, Subham Nagar, Pachaiamman Colony, Teachers Colony and Vembuli Nagar would dip sharply, the residents feared.

Representatives of Vel’s Group of Institutions, however, allayed their apprehensions. They were drawing water from wells on land they had taken on lease.

Earlier, they used to transport 18 loads of water a day and the movement of these heavy vehicles was risky to both students and residents around the institutions as roads were narrow. Moreover, only after getting due permission from the State government agencies did they go ahead with the proposal, they added.

They had paid Rs.45,000 to the State Highways Department as “road cutting” charges as 500 metres of the pipelines would run parallel to Dargah Road.

They also paid Rs.3.5 lakh to Pallavaram Municipality as fee for the project. Though water was available within the college premises, it was not fit for drinking, they said.

The entire project was transparent and even the Pallavaram Municipal Council had passed a resolution to this effect, the representatives added. Residents, however, were not convinced.

In a statement, office-bearers of the Renuka Nagar Residents Welfare Association said the drinking water needs of students and staff would not be more than 12,000 litres a day and this could be met even by a single tanker of Pallavaram Municipality.

Groundwater extracted for any other purpose would amount to violations of provisions of Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater Regulation Act, they added.

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