The dam was opened for irrigation by State ministers, KC Veeramani and Nilofer Kafeel, on May 26. However, the Perumbadi lake, which irrigates about 1,000 acres, has not received any inflow due to structures built on the bed of Kaundanya river.
According to G Raman, a villager, the issue dates back to 2014, when he petitioned the district administration thrice. As there was no action, he approached the Madras High Court. The HC, after hearing his petition, ordered the removal of encroachments with police protection and granted 21 days to complete the work.
“However, the encroachers who suppressed material facts obtained a stay against the HC order. The district administration cited this as the reason for its inaction,” Raman told DT Next.
Subsequently, he moved the Gudiyattam munsif court against the Collector, Gudiyattam tahsildar and the local Public Works Department (PWD) Assistant Engineer, in May last year. “Farmers are affected as encroachments are hindering the flow from dam to the lake. I had to skip three crops, which could have earned me an income of Rs 1 lakh. Also, my standing cane has withered because of the same reason,” he said. Although a notice was served on government officials, villagers say there has been no response.
G Sampath, member of the district agricultural productivity council, lamented that PWD officials do not pay attention to irrigation issues.
This apart, villagers claimed a portion of water flowing through the Kaundanya river was diverted. An entertainment arena was set up on the river bed for a just-concluded local temple festival. When contacted, Collector SA Raman said he was not aware of water being diverted from the Mordhana dam. “The PWD cannot resort to such measures without my knowledge. I will look into the issue,” he said.