VELLORE: The bund of Lala Eri in Valayampattu panchayat wore a festive look on Sunday as hundreds of people celebrated the water bodies filling up to their capacity.
The farmers of the panchayat were in a jubilant mood as the four lakes - Uppukarvattam Eri, Lala Eri, Thulasabhai Eri and Kangan Eri, which has remained dry for the last 16 years - filled up to their capacity following incessant rain. The local body constructed a drainage channel of half a kilometre in length at a cost of `25 lakh from the foothills of Naickaneri Hills to the lakes in the panchayat, 15 years ago under the rainwater harvesting scheme. However, it remained unused all these years due to poor rainfall.
Persistent rain in and around Naickaneri Hills has replenished and breathed life into, the water bodies. It will benefit around 3,000 acres of agricultural land, rejuvenating farmwells and recharging groundwater levels in the panchayat and neighbouring panchayats, said village elders who participated in the fest.
Uppukarvattam filled up 10 days ago, while Lala received surplus water eight days ago. Surplus water from the other two lakes is being discharged into Palar River.
Valayampattus panchayat’s former president, G Tirupathy, organised the festival on the bund of Lala Eri and invited residents of the panchayat and neighbouring villages. A special pooja was organised and 10 goats were sacrificed.
“We cooked 300 kg of rice and made mutton curry for the villagers. Around 10,000 people participated in the celebrations since morning,” 71-year-old Tirupathy told this newspaper.
Tirupathy pleaded ignorance to a question on the cost incurred for the festival.
“I am happy that the drainage channel constructed during my period as president helped to fill the lakes. It will benefit the farmers in particular and villagers in general for the years to come.”
The septuagenarian requested the officials to take measures to evict encroachments along the water bodies for the well-being the people.
“Lala Lake was the biggest water body in the panchayat spreading over 40 acres of land. Around 25 per cent of Lala Lake, however, has been encroached upon. The officials have failed to desilt and deepen the water body to store precious rain water,” he further said and suggested this should be done for the benefit of the community especially the farming community, he said.