3 Palakkad Panchayats Await Chandys Nod to Extend Canal
COIMBATORE: Thousands of farmers residing in a few panchayats in Palakkad district in Kerala are hoping to get a solution for their decades-old demand of a canal extension for 14 kilometres, at a meeting scheduled to be held with the Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday.
The representatives alleged that three panchayats -Eruthenpathy, Kozhinjampara and Vadakarapathy - have a perennial problem of acute water scarcity. Extension of the canal coming from Moolathara dam for 14 kilometers up to Velanthavalam, to redress the water woes of the three panchayats, has been facing a set back for few decades. According K S Thanikachalam, president, Kozhinjampara, the irrigation department had proposed to construct a canal for 28 kilometres from the right bank canal of Moolathara dam to Velanthavalam. They managed to construct a canal about 14 kilometres up to Pudur, but the rest of the distance is to be covered.
“The project was started 40 years before. The irrigation department managed to construct only 14 km till eight years before. We are expecting that Administrative Sanction (AS) would be given for the remaining project to be completed at the meeting scheduled with the Chief Minister on April 8,” he hoped.
“If the project would materialise, as many as 13,000 hectares of lands in these three panchayats would benefit, and ground water would also be recharged. A large number of farmers sold their lands four years back due to water scarcity and labour shortage. Farm lands have shrunk in the last couple of years, as farmers moved out to other professions,” he said.
According to the representatives, the Kerala irrigation department had initially prepared a detailed project report for extending the canal up to 6.2 km as against the 14 km proposal at an estimated cost of Rs 50.06 crore. Of the total amount, the government has to provide Rs 3 crore compensation to land owners for acquiring their lands, Rs 25 lakh has been allotted for surveying the remaining lands and remaining funds would be used for executing the 6.2 km project.