Thanjavur: The Chief Minister Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami's contention that the Mukkombu vents' collapse at Upper Anicut (UA) near Tiruchy was due the ageing structure was rejected by most farmers who took part at the weekly 'grievances meet' at the Thanjavur collectorate here on Friday.
As the collapse of nine vents and washing away of shutters in the heavy discharge of Cauvery waters at Mukkumbo dominated the meeting today, chaired by the Thanjavur collector, Mr. A. Annadurai, farmers asserted that "plundering of sand" from the river bed was the main reason for the structure to collapse.
Farmers led by Kakarai Sukumar and Govindaraj said that there was no point in Tamil Nadu Chief Minister visiting the Upper Anicut after the collapse of vents. He should have done it earlier and periodical check up of the stability of the 180-years-old structure should have been done.
Lamenting that large quantity of water had gone waste into the sea, the farmers said that the Chief Minister, should have instead paid a visit to tail-end areas of Cauvery delta and seen for himself the water scarcity there despite surplus in the upper reaches.
Sukumar and other farmers carried bronze vessels (kudams). They said that they wanted to pledge the vessels with the district collector and take money as they have no other means of income now. However, the police prevented them from taking the vessels inside the meeting hall.
A.K.R.Ravichandran, a farmer said that over exploitation of sand was the reason for the collapse of vents.
"The vents gave in as sand around their foundations were taken. Water will go to sea through Kollidam as vents collapsed. There is danger of cultivation being affected in Cauvery delta. Breach created due to collapse of vents should be plugged quickly," he said.
They also appealed to the state government to explore the possibility of constructing barrages across Kollidam and Cauvery to save water....