Frustrated over the Public Works Department’s apathy on desilting a irrigation canal for many years, the farmers of Keelachalai village near Sirkazhi block initiated the desilting works on Thursday at the ‘Rettaivaikal canal’ which irrigates four villages in the block. Farmers collected the required money from among themselves and began the works at the 8 km stretch of irrigation canal on Thursday.
According to the farmers of Keelachalai village, as many as 600 acres of cultivable lands in four villages including Melachalai, Annankoil, Sekkiruppu and Keelachalai rely on the Rettaivaikal canal irrigation.
However, the farmers here claim that the irrigation canal was left untouched for the past 15 years and most parts of the canal were occupied by encroachments and sand dunes. Though the farmers here have approached the PWD officials many times, there was no proper reply from them.
Since, water from Mettur dam was released on August 2 and with most parts of the district gearing up for extensive samba cultivation, the farmers were disappointed.
Farmers in the Keelchalai village by collecting Rs 300 per acre among themselves initiated the desilting activity at the 8 km stretch of Rettaivaikal canal on Thursday with the help of machinery.
“Even when we have water for irrigation, it is sad to see the poor condition of the canals. MGNREGA works should focus much on desilting process at least in future,” said Thiruvarasamoorthy, a farmer from Mayiladuthurai.