The Ponnai river is witnessing good flow due to recent rains. “But as no proper desilting work was undertaken, the entire water would flow into the Palar and then into the sea,” lamented K Raja, Vellore district president of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association.
“Eight months ago, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that a check dam would be built at Palleri in Walajahpet Panchayat Union, which was the first agriculture related announcement for the new district. If the work was undertaken, it would have resulted in groundwater being recharged in 10,000 acres covering 40 villages, while crops could have been raised in 800 acres. As no action was taken towards the check dam, sowing is not possible now because none of the areas have water for agriculture,” he added.
Similarly, improper kudimaramathu work on the distribution channel resulted in nine major irrigation tanks covered by the PR Kuppam, Milagaikuppam, Keeraisathu, Kodiyur, LN Puram and Vasur villages continuing to remain dry, Raja added. “If desilting was undertaken, 5,000 acres would have now been ready to raise crops,” he said.
Irked by the lack of official initiative, Raja said, “If waterbodies were properly desilted and kudimaramathu works were undertaken on time, there would be no need for farmers to rely on power as we could irrigate land with available water. There would be no need for us to sink bore wells to 1,000 plus feet to draw water and for which we need power.”
Now, farmers have resorted to various ways to divert water to nearby ponds and wells to ensure enough water for irrigation. While Raja diverted excess flow into his Palleri farm well, Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam youth wing general secretary R Subash, a resident of Kalpanampattu in Peruvalayam village panchayat in Kaveripakkam panchayat union, has diverted stagnant water from his land into a nearby pond. “It is now full and will ensure cultivation for the next two months,” Subash said.