Tirunelveli: Villagers of Kannupulimettu on the foothills of the Western ghats in Shengottai taluk, Tirunelveli district demand the closure of a private artificial falls, owned by a relative of a former state minister, as it pollutes water at the Gundaru dam, which is the drinking water source for Shengottai municipality and 20 other villages in the region.
According to Rajathi of Kannupulimettu village, Maruthappapandian alias Babu Raja of Veeraleralmputhur of Tirunelvelui district, allegedly encroached around 25 acres of forest land in the reserved forest area and created a private waterfall by constructing a concrete wall to divert water flow for commercial purposes.
The falls located in the interior forest area for about five km above Gundaru dam is reported to have affected the water inflow to the dam. Maruthappapandian is also reported to have blasted rocks and was arrested along with his relative Lingam, by Shengottai police in 2009. Works for the creation of the artificial falls, now popular among tourists as the Baburaja falls, resumed in 2011 despite opposition from local villagers.
It is to be noted that four more artificial falls are located in the same forest against which Rajathi filed a public interest litigation at the Madurai bench of the Madras High court.