NAGAPATTINAM:People from 17 villages around Thalainayar town near Vedaranyam have funded a temporary check dam to protect their cultivable land from becoming saline.
As their demand for a permanent check dam to protect the paddy fields was often ignored, farmers and farm hands around Thalainayar built a 150-metre long check dam on their own to keep salt water away.
Farmers said water bodies and paddy fields in about 17 villages had been secured from turning saline.
According to the villagers around Thalainayar, the soaring water level of the Bay of Bengal from December to June surged through the Harichandra river mouth and penetrated as much seven kilometers into the mainland till Pirinjimoolai village.
The absence of a check dam where Harichandra River drained near Mudhaliyappankandi locality turned many water bodies saline in the past decade.
This had hit farming, mostly paddy cultivation on as much as 25,000 acres around Thalainayar, every now and then over these years. Farmers said once the saline water penetrated the ground, soil up to 6 feet became useless.
“Tackling salinity has always been a tough task for tail-end farmers here. In order to save our cultivable lands, after getting permissions from district officials, we collected money from 17 villages and built the check dam with sand bags within two weeks,” said Somu Ilango from Thalainayar, an organiser for building the check dam.
Villagers said 261 farm hands, including 170 women, from 17 villages were roped in for the work on the check dam.
Among the villages were Kesavanodai, Palayatrangarai, and Perungulam.
A total sum of Rs 1.26 lakh was collected from 17 villages to build the check dam with sand bags, metal sheets and plastic sheets.