CHENNAI: The state government has submitted a proposal seeking forest clearance to construct a check dam across Vairavanar River inside Suranganar reserve forest in Theni forest division.
Officials in the Periyar Vaigai Basin Circle in Madurai, told Express that this check dam was crucial for augmenting the Rs 1,020 crore new drinking water scheme for water-starving Madurai under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. The government has already approved the scheme and an order was issued on May 23, 2018.
The proposed check dam will be located at lower camp of Mullaiperiyar dam at about 900 metres and between downstream of 18th canal and upper stream of existing check dam for Cumbum municipality water supply scheme. The location is such that the dam will receive water from its free basin of 31 hectares and an intercepted catchment area of 880 hectares. In addition, it will receive water from Periyar powerhouse. The catchment area comes under the influence of Uthamapalayam rainfall station, which receives average annual rainfall of 719.30 mm and the dependable yield per square mile is 250 million litres of water (8.735 Mcft), officials said.
Since the proposed area for check dam works lies within the reserve forest area, forest clearance is required for executing the work. In this regard, T Subramanian, executive engineer, Periyar Vaigai Basin Division (PWD), Madurai, has filed the online application and is currently pending in the Chennai Regional Office awaiting first stage clearance.
Officials said pipelines connecting proposed check dam will run through Gudalur, Cumbum, Uthamapalayam, Veerapandi and Theni to reach the Vaigai dam. Water will be treated at the Pannaipatti plant (which is located 16 km downstream of Vaigai dam) from where it will reach the city through the Periyar main canal, via Sholavandan.
The corporation’s plan is to draw 55 cusecs of continued water supply throughout the year from this check dam. However, construction of check dam does not come without a cost. As per the existing site conditions, during heavy rains, when water level reaches the brim of this check dam, it will outflank and submerge the adjacent patta and reserved forest areas. “The landowners in the area have raised objections, but necessary protection works are included in the project to address their concerns, like putting up protection walls on either side,” the officials said.
The total cost of project is estimated to be Rs 14.78 crore.