Eviction drive taken up to rid irrigation channel of encroachments

Brings cheer to farmers with lands at the tail-end areas

TIRUNELVELI: Farmers having cultivable lands in the tail-end region of the Paappaankulam irrigation channel under the Karuppanadhi irrigation system in the district are the most jubilant lot now as illegal constructions made on the channel for about 6.5 km that effectively blocked the flow of water for the past 40 years have been removed, thanks to the efforts of Collector M. Jayaraman. The four decade-long unresolved problem came to light at the farmers’ grievance day meeting on February 19 in which a farmer raised the issue of the encroachment on the channel.

Free flow:Illegal construction made on Paappaankulam channel being removed at Kadayanallur. — Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

Reacting sharply over this issue, Mr. Jayaraman instructed the revenue officials to identify the illegal constructions built along the stretch of about 6.5 km on the irrigation channel and to chart out an action plan to remove them. “Illegal constructions openly challenge the authority of the official machinery even as denying a section of the people their genuine rights and hence the interests of the voiceless section of the society should be protected at any cost. The revenue officials should prepare a detailed report on this issue at the earliest so that the eviction drive can be started without any further delay,” the Collector ordered.

When the mass contact programme was conducted at Krishnapuram on March 10, Mr. Jayaraman, while explaining in detail the history behind encroachments on Paappaankulam channel and the action to be taken, assured that the eviction drive would be started only after making proper alternative arrangements for the affected.

“The public should understand the problems being created by the illegal constructions… In this particular case, the flow of water through this channel to the tail-end regions has been obstructed completely and the channel has been transformed into a drainage channel. Since we’ll ensure an alternative for the people to be affected by this eviction drive, everyone concerned should cooperate with the district administration,” Mr. Jayaraman said.

The encroachment eviction drive was started last week by involving five earthmovers and personnel drawn from various departments.

“We never dreamt that our lands that remained dry for the past forty years due to the encroachments on the irrigation channel, would become productive once again. We are so happy that over several hundreds of acres falling under this irrigation channel are going to get succour from this channel and eventually ensure revenue for us. We’re really thankful to the Collector,” said K. Balasubramanian, a farmer from Kadayanallur.


Stormwater drainage channel, a health hazard

It is being more used as a free space for attending nature’s call by passengers, workers

TIRUCHI: A stormwater drainage channel, running to a length of about 20 metres near the Chathiram bus stand I in the city, has been posing a serious health hazard for years together, testifying to the Corporation officials’ indifference and apathy to ensuring public health.

AN EYESORE:The stormwater channel near the Chathiram bus stand in the city. — Photos: R. Ashok.

The entire channel is being more used as a free space for attending Nature’s call by the passengers, passers-by, workers and labourers from a chain of petty shops in the vicinity. The foul stench emanating round-the-clock in the area has been a source of grave threat to public health.

The area is a busy thoroughfare and all the city buses bound for Srirangam, Lalgudi and Thuraiyur pass through the AICUF Hall. But, still, the problem of utilising the channel as a toilet remains unresolved. The irony is that the open defecation has been a common phenomenon at this channel even in broad daylight.

The factors causing the problem are quite many. The channel runs close to the compound of the All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF) Hall. The site has also been the van stand for the past two decades and, obviously, a number of vans, taxis and other vehicles are parked in front of the AICUF Hall. “Ours is a popular stand in the city, where any vehicle is available round the clock,” says one of the van operators.

It is a chain of vehicles which provide the required cover for those attending the Nature’s Call. This was evident from the fact that a few persons were seen walking up to the channel to attend the Nature’s call, well utilising the privacy behind a van. With the stream of passengers attending the Nature’s call all through the day, it is often a tough job for press photographers to focus the lens at the channel and avoid those attending Nature’s call at the site.

Another factor contributing to the nuisance is that a number of buses bound for Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Thittakudi, Neyveli and Perambalur are parked on the road in front of the AICUFF Hall. Obviously, a large number of passengers can be seen loitering in the area, awaiting the bus for their destination.

The absence of a pay-and-use toilet at the site makes these passengers to utilise this channel — the nearest point for attending the nature’s call.

“The entire channel should be covered with concrete slabs. A ‘pay-and-use toilet’ should be built at the site for the convenience of the passengers,” says Fr. Arul Ravi, former Director of AICUF. The AICUF authorities have sought the assistance of the City Corporation authorities for proper maintenance of the channel in the larger interest of public health and hygiene, he says.

The AICUF Hall has been a hosting-centre for conferences and seminars on human rights and social issues. “Several representatives of non-governmental organisations, rights and social activists from different parts of the state hold their meetings here, for evolving an action plan. But the problem of health hazard at the AICUF Hall, by itself, remains a puzzle for years,” says N. Margaret Joeji, Director of ‘Success,’ a city-based non-governmental organisation working for the cause of human rights.

Sathish Tarnas, a social activist, says that a pay-and-use toilet should be constructed to ensure public hygiene. A.C. Titty Albert, Co-ordinator of NalandaWay Foundation, Chennai, says that the first impression a stranger gains about Tiruchi city was the worst. The shifting of the van-stand to another place would deprive the passengers of the privacy.

M. Balaganessin From THE HINDU

Desilting of water channels under way in Cuddalore

CUDDALORE: In preparation for receiving the Mettur water for irrigation, as many as 56 channels in Cuddalore district are being desilted at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore allotted by Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi, according to R.Seetharaman, District Collector.

The Collector inspected the desilting works under way in the Godhavari channel near Boothangudi at Veeranam, and, at Manavaikkal and Gunavasal and Elleri channels on Tuesday.

He called upon the officials of the Public Works Department (Water sources) to utilise the scooped out soil for strengthening the bunds. Later, the Collector held a meeting with farmers from Kattumannarkoil, Chidambaram and Killai blocks.

They made a representation to the Collector to properly measure the waterways before undertaking the desilting work.

Accordingly the Collector instructed the officials of the revenue and land survey departments to take measurements of the channels prior to carrying out the desilting works.

The Collector called upon the farmers to give their suggestions and complaints, if any, to the following officials: Executive Engineer (PWD), Chidambaram – 94432 92948, Assistant Executive Engineer (PWD), Anaikkarai – 98422 58499, Assit.Exe.Engr (PWD), Chidambaram – 94436 50656, and Asst.Exe.Engr (PWD), Lalpettai – 94423 12589.


Dindigul: Tanks, supply channels need to be protected

DINDIGUL: Protection of rural tanks and supply channels is possible only with the help of community.

Rural people should not allow anyone to encroach water bodies and their supply channels in order to improve ground water sources and wipe out drinking water crisis in a phased manner, said Collector M. Vallalar.

Common cause:Collector M. Vallalar addressing a gram sabha meeting at Chettinaickenpatti near Dindigul on Saturday. — PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN

He was participating in the Gram Sabha meeting at Chettinaickenpatti near here on Saturday.

The district administration had started restoring damaged or destructed tanks in all unions and rehabilitating them through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Community participation was essential for successful implementation of this scheme, he added.

“People should protect the tanks and supply channels in each and every village. Encroachers should not be allowed to occupy tank area and channels.”

District administration had received proposals from Chettinaickenpatti village panchayat for the implementation of special drinking water project for the panchayat. Water will be drawn from Thadikombu to meet the growing drinking water needs, he added.

Enumeration of huts at the village had also been commenced. Persons living in huts would get financial assistance for construction of concrete houses under Kalaignar Housing Scheme, said the Collector.

The Gram Sabha approved several schemes to be taken under MGNREGS at this panchayat.


Identification of beneficiaries under Kalaignar Insurance Scheme was underway. After identifying the beneficiaries, funds will be released to them for construction of concrete houses, said Collector P. Muthuveeran.

He was taking part in a Gram Sabha meeting held at Anamalaiyanpatti near here on Saturday.

Development works at an estimated cost of Rs.20 lakh had been taken up this year.

A ration shop was opened and group houses were constructed for the poor. More facilities would be created for the economic uplift of the panchayat, he added.

The Gram Sabha discussed the implementation of various schemes, list of beneficiaries identified under various welfare schemes and other requirements and future plans of village panchayat. Gram Sabha was conducted at all village panchayats.


Ooty: Plea to take steps to prevent death of fish

Udhagamandalam: The need to take steps to prevent death of fish in the Ooty lake and the Sandynullah reservoir, near here, has been stressed by the Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam. In a letter to the government, Secretary of the association G.Janardhanan said that the death of fish was occurring frequently. He said the entry of effluents into the lake through the Kodappamund channel was a major source of pollution.


Cleaning of channels in full swing in Ramanathapuram

RAMANATHAPURAM: Even as the northeast monsoon intensified on Saturday, the steps to drain out rainwater in Ramanathpauram town began on Saturday. Besides workers of Ramanathapuram municipality, an earthmover and a few tractors were also pressed into service.The idea was to remove the silt along the important channels for free flow of water.

Collector T.N. Hariharan had instructed the municipal, revenue and public works department officials to take emergency steps to find out obstructions and sediments at the inlet and outlet points of ooranies.

Mr. Hariharan, who visited the cleaning operation accompanied by District Revenue Officer K. Balasubramaniam at Chockalingapuram in Singarathope area, told The Hindu that the points, where water flow was blocked or slowed down on channels, had been found out. Initially the channels and waterways, which were interlinked with the western parts of the town would be desilted. It would facilitate free flow of rainwater to Sakkarakottai kanmoi. If there were encroachments on waterways they would be cleared. The clearing operation would be completed within two days.

Mr. Hariharan said the areas in and around Thangappa Nagar, where water logging was reported, would be studied. Necessary steps would be taken to drain out water from the area.K.V. Balakrishnan, Commissioner, Ramanathapuram Municipality, said that all officials and field staff have been put on alert to take steps to prevent water borne diseases.