Tanks full, but farmers peeved as water assns starved of funds
VELLORE: Ranipet farmers are peeved that despite irrigation tanks having water due to copious rain, they are unable to use it as the water user associations formed by the state government and vested with powers to distribute water to farmers has not been provided the needed funds to desilt channels to provide water, sources said.
The aim of the associations formed in August this year was to ensure expeditious cleaning of channels, removal of encroachments and equitable supply of water to farmers attached to each irrigation tank. But, all went for a toss as till date association presidents have not been informed of their powers and access to funds while official support is seriously lacking.
With almost all irrigation tanks in Ranipet district having water, problems arose as most distribution channels are either silted up or encroached upon. “Local farmers demand that we clear up channels to get water, not knowing that even we presidents do not know anything about our powers,” said Vepperi water users association president CS Mani.
Echoing this N Rajamanickam, Kariakudal water users association president said, “though we approached officials to inform us presidents of our powers, there has been no response till date.” Sayanapuram water users association president Thennarasu said, “as of now water users association presidents posts are purely ornamental and serves no practical purpose.” “Though much can be done for the farming community by these associations, officialdom maintaining a studied silence is irksome as farmers are becoming belligerent demanding action due to water availability in the tanks,” lamented Adhimoolam, president Ulianallur association.
Though association presidents approached Tahsildars to send surveyors to measure distribution channels nothing has come about despite the request being made more than a month ago.
R Subash, Siruvalayam water users association president said, “funding for associations was done till 2008. Then orders were passed for the government to take over fishing rights in such tanks with 30 per cent of the proceeds being earmarked for water users associations. But, till date we have received no funds.