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Desilting of 83-year-old Mettur Dam begins

As part of the Statewide effort to desilt dams and waterbodies to increase their water holding capacity, the State government on Sunday began desilting the 83-year-old Mettur Dam.

Desilting of 83-year-old Mettur Dam begins
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Edappadi K Palanisamy inaugurating the desilting of Mettur Dam in Salem District

Coimbatore

The project was kickstarted by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy. He said the PWD officials have estimated that desilting could increase the dam’s storage capacity by 10 per cent. He said that farmers would be allowed to collect silt but warned them against its misuse. 

“Desilting will prove beneficial to the 16.05 lakh acres under cultivation in 12 districts,” he said and added that the rains will not affect the desilting works. Palanisamy said that Rs 50 crore has been sanctioned for renovating the East and West canals of the dam. Maintenance works, which are under way, are being done at a cost of Rs 10.72 crore, he said and added, “Other dams across the State will also be desilted soon.” 

According to PWD officials, on Sunday 10 earth diggers and five earth movers were engaged in collecting silt and 200 tractors transported them to farm lands. On the right side of the dam, clearing of silt began at Moolakadu, Kolathur and Pannavadi village. On the left side, desilting began at Koonandiyur and Konur (East) villages.

Officials said that there is no deadline for the works and it would continue till the farmers are interested in making use of the silt to improve the quality of their cultivable land. They have planned to desilt one lakh square metres in the first phase. 

Full-fledged desilting of the dam will begin only after Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Limited of the Ministry of Water Resources that is conducting the capacity survey of the dam - over the last two months - completes it and submits the report to the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Ministers P Thangamani (Electricity, Prohibition and Excise), KP Anbalagan (Higher Education) and V Saroja (Social Welfare and Nutritious Noon Meal Programme), MLAs, MPs, top officials from the Public Works Department and Revenue and farmers were present.

Semmalai boycotts function 

S Semmalai, Mettur MLA, and leader in the OPS-led AIADMK (Amma) faction, did not take part in the desilting of Mettur Dam on Sunday. 

“Though I was not invited, I wanted to participate. But a few PWD officials advised me against it. That is why I kept away,” the MLA said.

On the other hand the MLA said that he did not want to be humiliated by the Chief Minister or the MLAs in the opposite wing. “When I was Salem MP, Edappadi assembly segment was under my constituency. On many occasions I have been humiliated when I took part in important functions. I wanted to play it safe,” he said. 

Recalling the desilting works that are under way at Panamarathupatti Lake close to Salem City, he said two politicians in power are illegally selling a truck load of sand, silt and mud from that lake for Rs 2,000. He made an appeal to the government to ensure that such scams do not take place in the Mettur Dam. 

The Mettur MLA alleged that Palanisamy was copying ‘Amma’ style of governance, like the video conferencing launch of projects. “These acts will not make him an able administrator like ‘Amma’,” he quipped.

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