CUDDALORE: More than 500 farmers from about 25 villages held a road blockade on Thursday condemning supply of water from Wallajah Lake to the Chennai Metro Water.
Farmers from Karaimedu, Thalaikulam, Uluthur, Maruthur, Jayankondan, Yellaikudi, Aadur Agaram, Aramangalam and several other villages, that rely on the lake water for irrigation, gathered on the road and took part in the protest, that was organised by the Wallajah Lake Farmers Welfare Association. Raising slogans against supply of the lake water to Chennai, the farmers squatted on the road. Traffic froze for one-and-half hour on both sides of the Chennai-Kumbakonam road.
Association president Ramanujam said, “Wallajah Lake, which is under PWD’s control, receives water from Neyveli mines and villages in this area use the lake water for drinking and agricultural purposes. Now as the Veeranam lake has gone dry due to the drought, the Chennai Metro Water is procuring water from Wallajah. This would severely affect the farmers here.”
“Veeranam Lake water is primarily being used by the Chennai Metro Water rather than for the irrigation purposes. Similarly, if we allow the Chennai board to take water from Wallajah, then farmers here would have no water at all when required.” On information, Bhuvanagiri tasildhar Rani and Neyveli DSP Venkatesan rushed to the spot and held talks with the protestors.
During the talks, a decision to organise a meeting with the Collector to discuss about the issue was taken. The officials assured the farmers that steps would be taken to halt the supply of water from the Wallajah to Chennai. Based on this assurance, the farmers withdrew their protest. When asked, PWD officials in the district, said, “Chennai Metro Water is taking only the surplus water from the lake to cater to the needs of people in Chennai.”
However, farmers opposed the clarification and said, “Agriculture could not be done here for the past two years due to flood and drought. In this situation, how can they allow to take Wallajah’s water.”