CHENNAI: MDMK leader Vaiko on Tuesday appealed to farmers in Thoothukudi district to join him in desilting the Srivaikuntam dam manually on July 6, if the State government failed to do so by then.
The National Green Tribunal had ordered the Centre to give permission for desilting the dam before June 10 and the State government could proceed without the Centre’s nod if clearance was not given by that date. The Centre had accepted the Tribunal’s order and accorded permission on June 10. The State government had not taken up the desilting works, even 20 days after the Centre’s clearance, Vaiko said and added that desilting could not be taken up after the monsoon rains, as the dam would be filled with water. The government, after desilting, could auction the sand and get revenue, the MDMK leader pointed out.
MDMK Thoothukudi district secretary Joel filed a case in the National Green Tribunal seeking desiltation and obtained an order on June 5 in his favour. After the verdict, Joel and farmers’ representatives met the district Collector with a plea to start desilting the dam.
The dam, storing water from Tamiraparani river, irrigates 25,560 acres besides providing drinking water to the people. As the desilting works had not been done, the dam had been filled with sand and thick blanket of plants, which also suck water.
The dam with a storage capacity of 8 ft is at present storing one feet only with 20 tmc feet of water being drained into the sea.
The farmers who earlier used to cultivate for three seasons could now raise only a single crop a year, Vaiko said.