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Andhra Pradesh check dams bring Palar issue to fore again

After a lull, Palar river has once again become the focal point in the state, as Andhra Pradesh government is going ahead with its plan to construct check dams across the river.

Andhra Pradesh check dams bring Palar issue to fore again
Fact File


The move has further added fuel to the fire among the residents living in the southern parts of Chennai, particularly the suburbs and those in Vellore district. The residents also point their finger at the Public Works Department officials, who failed to construct check dams in the river in the state to store water.

The once ‘perennial’ river which remained as a major drinking water source to Chennai suburbs was the lifeline of Vellore district. The farmers depended on the river for irrigation and drinking water. Under such circumstances, the Andhra Pradesh government had already raised the height of some of the check dams in that state and has now started constructing new check dams. It has not gone well with those in these regions. 

Interestingly, the Palar river passes only for 48 km through AP (Chittoor district), wherein the same river makes its 224-km journey in Tamil Nadu (Vellore and Kancheepuram districts). However, there are only a couple of check dams in Tamil Nadu.

P Viswanathan, coordinator, Chitlapakkam Residents Welfare Association, said, “The AP government has already constructed a sizeable number of check dams six years ago. Since then, the perennial river became parched and water is flowing on rare occasions in the river causing severe water scarcity in Chennai’s suburbs and northern districts like Vellore and Tiruvannamalai.” He also blamed the PWD officials for not paying proper attention to the river and on constructing check dams to conserve water.

Speaking to DTNext, a senior engineer of Palar Basin (Upper river), Vellore district, on conditions of anonymity, said, “Though we are not authorised to monitor other state’s border, we came to know that it is not a check dam, but a high-level bridge across the river. However, there is a fear among public that the bridge can be converted into a check dam by installing sluices.” They were monitoring the situation and submitting reports to the government, he added.

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