The farmers were reportedly proceeding towards Mukkombu to stage a protest condemning the government’s failure in water management.
Lamenting that paddy crop in tail-end areas was facing a serious threat due to the poor handling of water by government officials, they demanded to establish an inquiry commission on the Kollidam regulator collapse.
In view of the protest call by the committed, adequate security was posted on Thanjavur-Mannargudi road to tackle the situation. When PR Pandian and farmers were proceeding from Mannargudi, they were stopped at the Thanjavur-Manargudi-Pattukkottai road junction. The farmers staged a road blockade and they were later joined by the members of AMMK’s agriculture wing.
Talking to reporters, PR Pandian said the Karnataka Government failed to release water for over seven years and this resulted zero scope for agriculture in delta districts. “Though, this year, there was enough water due to heavy rains, the State Government failed to make best use of it.
Canals and paddy fields in tail-end areas now stand deprived of water and samba could not be cultivated,” he said.
Pointing out that the breach of nine piers in Mukkombu resulted in water flowing into Kollidam instead of Cauvery, he claimed that temporary measures initiated by the State Government would not suffice.
“When floods occur during the ensuing northeast monsoon period, the temporary structure will collapse,” Pandian said and added that the Superintending Engineer of PWD and other posts are lying vacant in the delta regions.
He demanded an inquiry commission headed by a sitting High Court Judge to fix responsibility for the breach in the Mukkombu.
Plugging work over at Kollidam, declare officials
After nearly 1,000 labourers worked tirelessly, round-the-clock for the last two weeks to plug the breach in Upper Anicut, the work was finally declared completed on Saturday.
On August 22, nine piers of the 182-year-old Upper Anicut collapsed along with shutters. This washed away the hopes of farmers in the delta region as water from ‘Aganda Cauvery’ flowed into Kollidam River.
Following this, the State Government instructed PWD officials to plug the breach immediately in order to divert the water into the Cauvery from Mukkombu.
As the flow was heavy, it hampered the work. The PWD officials, based on suggestions from experts, had overcome the impediments.
First, they started building a bund using sandbags and later they switched to the new plan of dumping boulders, brought from Karur, Perambalur and Pudukkottai.
Ministers MR Vijayabhaskar, Vellamandi N Natarajan and S Valarmathi, Tiruchy MP P Kumar and district Collector K Rajamani frequented the site to oversee the progress in work.
Finally, the PWD officials successfully plugged the breach on Friday evening. However, there are leakages through the bund built with boulders.
PWD officials may have to strive hard for the next few days to seal the minor leaks.
Announcing that the works were completed in Kollidam on Friday, the transport minister MR Vijayabhaskar thanked workers and officials for their efforts in plugging the breach.
Meanwhile, the leakage between the boulders were temporarily filled with bagasse (the remains of a sugarcane after extracting juice from it).