VELLORE: While farmers associations and NGO activists here thanked Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for allaying their fears with her quick response to stall the renewed move of Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu, to construct a reservoir across Palar near Kuppam, they urged her to initiate steps to get water flow to the river by getting the concurrence of the Central government for linking the west flowing rivers of Karnataka and east flowing rivers of AP, with Palar in TN.
NGO activist A Asokan said, while stalling the construction of the reservoir could be an important move by CM Jayalalithaa, the real issue was to get water flow in the river, which had gone dry for the past two decades. It was also heartening to note that the Chief Secretary had already written a letter to the Centre, to apply brakes on Naidu’s plans.
While these measures could at best stop the construction of the reservoir, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa should initiate positive steps to revive the Palar through dialogues with the neighbouring States of Karnataka and AP, for a productive linkage by tapping excess water from Netravati in coastal Karnataka and Krishna and Godavari in AP, to flood Palar here. This would benefit all the three States and would be a win-win situation for all, he added.
Asokan said, the Karnataka government had already initiated a project to divert around 10 tmc of water from Netravati to the drought- prone district of Kolar bordering the Vellore district. What is required is an additional canal to link Palar, which originated near Kolar. Also the AP government was going ahead with the Jalasangamam project, to divert water from Krishna-Godavari to the drought prone district of Chittoor, which is also bordering Vellore. A canal from Chittoor to link Palar that passed through the district would bring water flow to Palar in Tamil Nadu without difficulty. The TN State government should negotiate with the neighbouring States and the Centre to scale up these projects so that Palar could be revived in the immediate future, he added.
State executive member of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam Mullai said, CM Jayalalithaa should demand setting up of a Palar water authority to force States of Karnataka and AP for sharing their river waters for reviving Palar on a long-term basis. A resolution in this regard should be passed in the State Assembly so that the Centre could act on it, he added. The TN government should also evolve a clear policy of protecting Palar from chemical effluents from industries and the sewage from civic bodies along the river course. He said, these demands would be made at the 17th conference of the sangam, scheduled for July 1 in Vellore district.
Octogenarian social worker M M Basheer said, the River Board Act must be used against the neighbouring States, to remove the 32 check dams that had been constructed across Palar. The agreement made between TN, AP and Karnataka over sharing of Palar river water must also be scrapped, he added.