Farmers demand release of water through TMC branch canal

PWD officials, however, say water supply has already started through extension canal

Farmers benefiting from four tanks near Karumathur are demanding desilting of an old branch canal of Tirumangalam Main Canal (TMC) to ensure early and adequate supply of water to the tanks.

However, Public Works Department officials said water supply to the tanks had already started through TMC Extension Canal.

The issue came up for a prolonged discussion at DISHA meeting held here on Tuesday, with the farmers not relenting and finding support from Minister for Registration and Commercial Taxes P. Moorthy.

Executive Engineer (Periyar-Vaigai Basin Division) V. Sugumaran said water had been released for a tank for eight days and after supplying water to other tanks for ensuring equitable distribution, another round of release started on Wednesday.

Former vice-chairperson of Chellampatti Panchayat union A. Jeyaraman said the farmers had toiled hard to desilt the supply canal for 1.5 km with their own resources to take water to Valayankulam tank.

“The stone canal has been designed with 1.5 feet width and 1.5 feet depth, which is not matching the huge size of the tank that has a water spread area of 170 acres,” he said.

The tank did not get adequate water in the last 13 year and when there was flood in the Vaigai, the farmers wanted to make the most of the situation.

A farmer, M. Elangovan of Karumathur, said desilting of Branch Canal 1 from the TMC would cut short the distance of water travel and the four tanks – Kovilankulam, Andikulam, Karukkanji and Valayankulam – would get adequate water at the earliest.

Usilampatti MLA Ayyappan visited the village on Wednesday and inspected the water flowing to Valayankulam tank. The farmers said if their tanks were filled up, it would help raise paddy crop in several villages downstream.

Mr. Elangovan claimed that water was released directly to these tanks till 1982, but was diverted after the construction of the TMC Extension Canal.

A PWD engineer said for indirect irrigation, the department could only ensure water to one-third of the tank capacity and the remaining quantum had to be managed with local rainfall and inflow.

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