CHENNAI: With a view to protect Cauvery delta, the granary of Tamil Nadu, from effects of climatic change in the next four decades, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday announced a massive scheme to prevent sea water intrusion into delta areas in coastal districts and store flood waters for irrigation during summer, at a cost of Rs 1,560 crore. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide Rs 1,092 crore as loan while the State government would provide Rs 498 crore for this project, the CM said in the State Assembly. She added that the project would be taken up for execution on a priority basis and would be completed in the next five years. A total of 4.5 lakh acres in the districts of Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Thanjavur would be benefited by this project. Leaders of political parties in the State Assembly hailed the CM’s initiative.
Rebuilding old sluice gates, setting up of more sluice gates to store flood water for irrigation, increasing the water level in wells through the method of artificial re-charge and prevention of intrusion of sea water would be the key aspects of this scheme, the CM said.
Jayalalithaa said experts across the globe have expressed the view that the sea level would go up due to climatic change, and in the next 40 years, sea water would intrude and stagnate on fertile land in delta areas, making it unfit for cultivation. Hence, it has become necessary to take preventive steps to check sea water intrusion.
In the Cauvery delta, from the coastline till 25 km inland, the terrain is flat. Hence, during the northeast monsoon, channels are affected. And, because of the lack of sufficient structures to store flood water, it flows into the sea and becomes a waste, she pointed out.