Thoothukudi: The farmers of Thoothukudi “doubt the intention” of the Tamil Nadu government in de-silting the Srivaikundam dam in the district as they complained the state was yet to release a government order (G.O.) to officially take up the work.
The 142-yearold Srivaikundam dam being the last one in the Thamirabarani irrigation system in Thoothukudi district has not been desilted for more than 50 years continuously and hence the dam suffered erosion in its storage capacity of 8 ft due to the formation silt.
While farmers in the Srivaikundam region placed repeated demands to successive state governments for long in this regard, the government had assured to fulfill their demand. Following this, the PWD had sent a proposal to the government that was positively considered. However, the Union ministry of environment and forests that holds 100-year lease on 96.6 acres, delayed permission to take up the de-siltation project at the dam.
The Union ministry’s delay brought in the Thoothukudi district MDMK into the scene and the party’s district secretary, advocate Joel, filed a case at the green tribunal seeking a direction in favour of the farmers’ demand.
The green tribunal last month in its order insisted the Union ministry of environment and forests to give immediate clearance and added that if the Central ministry delayed, the tribunal had instructed the Tamil Nadu government to take up the project. The Union ministry however, gave its clearance immediately, after which the PWD had taken up the project.
Nonetheless, Nainar Kulasekaran, convenor of Thamirabarani river water protection, said the government is yet to issue a formal order without which the work could be stopped any time. The farmers of Srivaikundam have also raised doubts over the government’s intention as neither the PWD nor the district collector, who jointly prepared the proposal, are yet to make public the information about how much of sand is to be mined to desilt the dam....
Location: Tamil Nadu