CUDDALORE: With water level in Veeranam lake inching towards its full capacity, farmers in neighbouring villages are demanding release of water for Samba cultivation.
The 5,000-acre lake, built during Chola period, remains one of the key waterbodies in the region with five blocks in the district – Bhuvanagiri, Kumaratchi,
Parangipettai, Keerapalayam and Kattumanarkovil – depending on water from Veeranam for agriculture. Besides, the water is piped all the way to Chennai to quench the thirst of State’s capital.
Sources in the PWD said the lake’s water level is just 1 feet away from its full capacity of 47.5 feet (equivalent to an approximate storage capacity of 1,465 million cubic feet).
With the news of Veeranam reaching its full level going around, farmers are apprehensive that they may not be able to enjoy the full benefits as water channels in the region are clogged with waste and shrubs. Every drop of water counts in the delta region since most of the farmers here are engaged in water-intensive paddy cultivation. On an average, 55,000 hectares of land is used for paddy cultivation in the five blocks of the district.
Speaking to Express, P Ravindran, state secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Federation Movement, which has been demanding development of water channels, said that Vadakurajan water channel, considered to be an important tract through which water from Veeranam radiates to several minor channels, is clogged at several places.
Moreover, large stretches of main channels – Vadakurajan, Vadavaru, Veeranam, Paasimuthan and Khansaheb – are yet to be desilted, resulting in reduced carrying capacity. After a detailed survey, farmers in the region found that 380 km of the 830 km long channels needs to be desilted.
N Venkatesan, a farmer, rued that they had been long demanding desilting of water channels, but the State was only interested in taking water to Chennai. Despite the water reaching their region after three years, farmers are disappointed that not even a single drop of water had reached their farmlands so far this year.