Cuddalore now faces severe water shortage

The situation is particularly bad in the taluks of Kattumannarkoil and Chidambaram with the Veeranam tank completely dried up.

Chidambaram: After the destruction caused by the last year’s flood, a part of Cuddalore district is faced with a drought-like situation with acute drinking water shortage and agriculture severely affected and causing large scale unemployment.

Drinking water shortage and non-availability of water for cultivation were complaints made by villagers to candidates visiting the villages seeking their votes for the May 16 Assembly polls.

The situation is particularly bad in the taluks of Kattumannarkoil and Chidambaram with the Veeranam tank completely dried up. The tank, which is the main source of water for the drinking and agriculture in the region, has been emptied to take up the much-delayed deepening and desilting work at a cost of Rs 40 crore.

Malarkodi, an agricultural worker in Kandhakumaran village located adjacent to the Veeranam Eri, said the villagers were facing acute drinking water shortage for the last two months.

“We used to take water from the common well in the village twice a day to meet our requirement. With the tank drying up, we are allowed to take only once in a day,” she said, adding she was forced to walk over a kilometre to fetch water from Manalmedu.

Last year’s floods caused severe loss to them in terms of damage to huts and crops. Now water shortage has made things worse as farming activities have come to a complete standstill, said V. Selvarani, another worker in the village.
Besides paddy, betel leaf farming and urad dal are cultivated in the region, she said, adding that with water not available, crops have not been cultivated this season causing joblessness.

VCK president Thol. Thirumavalavan, who is contesting from Kattumannarkoil Assembly constituency, said people are complaining about water shortage in every village he visited. “We have Kollidam (Coleroon, a distributary of Cauvery river) that passes near the constituency and yet we don’t have drinking water.

There is a big Veeranam tank that supplies drinking water to Chennai city but people here suffer from water shortage. Now the tank is completely dried up. All this water shortage is because of maladministration,” he said.

Cuddalore district faces a drought-like situation with water shortage during summer and floods in monsoon season, laments Madhavan, district president of Tamil Nadu Vivasaigal Sangam.

Due to lack of water storage facility and damaged irrigation canals, the water that caused huge damage in November and December last year could not be stored, with all that excess water being let into the sea, he complained.

“Nearly four years after chief minister Jayalalithaa announced her Rule 110 statements in the Assembly, the deepening and desilting of the Veeranam tank has been taken up at a cost of '40 crore. This is being done only with an eye on the elections,” he said, adding that the water shortage would affect cultivation in over 30,000 acres of land in Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil taluk.

“In April and May, the farmers will usually go for a short period paddy crop. Now it cannot be cultivated. Over 50,000 agricultural workers will go jobless,” he said, adding that they would go straight for kuruvai crop if the government releases water from Mettur dam. “After the government started supplying Veernam water for Chennai city, farmers were not getting the water for cultivation when they need it,” he noted.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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