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Farmers tense over damaged LBP portions

Staff Reporter

Seepage and weakening bunds had resulted in canal breach in many places

-PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Glaring defect: The damaged portions of branch channels coming under the Lower Bhavani Project remain unattended in Erode district.

ERODE: Farmers depending on the Lower Bhavani Project (LBP) for irrigation are worried a lot as the damaged portions of the main canal and its branch channels remain unattended.

The canal is the main source of water for large tracts of lands in Erode and neighbouring Tirupur and Karur districts.

It runs for 125 miles, irrigating over 2.07 lakh hectares in the three districts.

Unattended

Though the public works department claimed that it was carrying out maintenance works, the weaker portions of the bunds and damaged water regulation structures in the main canal and its branches at several parts of the district had not been attended for long, farmers complained.

Seepage

Another major concern of LBP ayacut farmers is the seepage problem.

According to farmers associations, over 600 cusecs is lost to seepage, which is heavy at a number of places. The seepage and weakening bunds had resulted in canal breach, which happened a few times in the past.

In April this year, a major breach occurred in the LBP canal near Vellode, bringing crops in more than 200 acres of land under water. Water from the canal also flooded the residential area of Olapalayam village, forcing a number of families there to move to safe locations, farmers said.

The canal's bed also remains heavily silted at a number of parts in the district. Wild growth of plants on the bed affects the flow of water.

Farmers have appealed to the department to initiate steps on a war footing to identify all weaker portions of the bunds and strengthen them, as only a few weeks left for the release of water in the canal for irrigation. The customary date of water release for Lower Bhavani Project ayacut is August 15.

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