Farmers at the monthly grievance meet held at the Collectorate demanded appropriate action against National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for not restoring PWD channels that they had closed for laying and widening of the NH-46, here on Friday.
The farmers hit out at NHAI stating that several PWD channels were closed when work was carried out on the NH-46 under the Golden Quadrilateral Highways Project.
“NHAI assured us that new channels would be dug after the project was completed. However, they failed to fulfil their promise, leading to several tanks drying up,” said Murugesan, a farmer from Pallikonda.
Collector P Sankar, who chaired the meeting, directed PWD officials to ensure that the channels were not affected by the road project. He also instructed officials to ensure that NHAI contractors laid an alternative channel before closing down existing channels.
The farmers also urged the administration to direct tanneries and leather factories to take steps to ensure that toxic discharges were not made into Palar river.
“Reclamation of water and soil of Palar river should be taken up at the earliest. Tanneries and leather factories should take steps towards reversal of ecology by way of corporate-social responsibility. If urgent steps are not taken very soon, the people in this region will suffer from drinking water scarcity,” said Jamuna Thiagarajan, an environmentalist and farmer from Ambalur.
Thiagarajan urged the administration to constitute a committee comprising environmentalists to look into environmental problems in the district and come up with solutions. She also urged the Health Minister to attend to the health problems of people affected by tannery pollution and conduct a comprehensive health check-up for the people in the area.