THANJAVUR: The Thanjavur MP and former union minister S.S. Palanimanickam has taken strong objection to the Chief Minister, Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami's announcement of a “mega scheme to impound the surplus water from the Mettur dam so as to fill up 100 lakes in Mettur, Omalur, Sankagiri and Edappadi assembly constituencies,” during a tour of his constituency on Sunday.
Palanimanickam told presspersons here on Monday that it betrayed the people of Cauvery delta districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Tiruchy and Pudukottai. “Allotting Rs 565 crore for improving 100 lakes in the four assembly constituencies is like creating a new irrigation zone within Tamil Nadu depriving water for the Cauvery delta. This raises doubts about the intention of the Chief Minister whether he is trying to destroy delta and also is he indirectly supporting proposed hydrocarbon projects of the central government. In order to please the people who are objecting to the eight-lane expressway from Salem to Chennai, Chief Minister might have made this announcement,” alleged the MP.
“Chief Minister should not forget that he is Chief Minister for Tamil Nadu and not for only Edappadi,” said SSP. He also criticised the Mettur dam water release management after Mr. Palaniswami became Chief Minister. “Normally it is done in consultation with Thanjavur district collector and chief engineer of PWD. Now (the minister alleged) that it is being done by personal secretary of the Chief Minister. The CM should revert back to the old system of consulting Thanjavur district collector and PWD engineers for opening of the dam. Moreover, the dam is closed at the end of January every year. In between it will not be opened until water is released for cultivation in the delta. The Chief Minister is following a new practice of releasing 1,000 cusecs of water in between to Salem areas.
This should also be stopped,” Palanimanickam said.
“In a way this is like Karnataka insisting on construction of Mekedatu dam to impound surplus waters. Where is the surplus? Even if it is there, the best way is to improve hundreds of lakes in the delta districts, which are 500 acres, 300 acres, 100 acres big and store water in them. Chief Minister can divert the Rs 565 crore for this purpose instead of improving lakes in the four constituencies in Salem area,” Palanimanickam suggested.
He appealed to the Chief Minister Palaniswami to drop the scheme and divert the fund to the delta districts for improving lakes, ponds, tanks and rivers so that farmers may take up cultivation in a sustained way.