VILLUPURAM: The villagers of Thalavanur on Monday found an unusual supporter for their efforts to construct a check dam across Malataru river. The surprise came from across the border as Puducherry Assembly Speaker V Vaithilingam visited the Tamil Nadu village and handed over a donation of `10,000 from his own pocket towards the public effort.
According to sources, the demand for constructing a check dam across Malataru river near Thalavanur is a very old one. Despite repeated demands from the locals, no action had been taken in this regard.
The locals said that the check dam would prevent the wastage of water and prevent sea water intrusion.
Irked over the lax attitude of officials, the villagers decided to build a check dam by their own efforts and they also sought the support of Puducherry Speaker Vaithilingam on Monday evening.
Malataru is a tributary of Thenpennai river and helps to irrigate thousands of acres of farmlands in both Villupuram district and neighbouring Puducherry State.
The villagers claimed that they were completely dependent on water from Malataru for their agrarian needs but due to lack of a check dam, water was just flowing to the sea during the monsoon, leaving their lands dry during peak summer.
In 2016, V Thanigavel (40), a local farmer with locomotive disorder, decided to build a check dam for the benefit of entire village. Even though he managed to fill the large pits in the river which were formed due to illegal sand mining, Thanigavel could not build the check dam due to lack of funds.
However, the villagers of Thirupachanur, Thalavanur and other surrounding villages realised the importance of the check dam and started constructing a 720 metre long and 8 metre high check dam across the river at Thalavanur.
Fund crunch became a major bottleneck for the villagers when they almost completed 70 per cent of works. This forced them to seek help from the neigbouring villages and they started a door-to-door collection of donation.
Upon receiving information, Vaithilingam visited the check dam along with Puducherry PWD Executive Engineer Pugazhenthi and other PWD officials on Monday evening.
Vaithilingam, after handing over the money, assured the villagers all the help to complete the check dam which would help both Villupuram and Puducherry.