MADURAI: Following a road roko for close to five hours by farmers, Chief Minister (CM) Edappadi K Palaniswami ordered the officials to release water from the Vaigai Dam to the Periyar Main Canal and Thirumangalam Main Canal on Monday.
There are nearly 86,000 acres of single crop area in Melur that are dependent on the Periyar Main Canal and nearly 19,000 acres of single crop area in Thirumangalam which are dependent on the Thirumangalam Main Canal for irrigation. Both the canals receive water from the Vaigai Dam.
Usually the water is released for the single crop areas in Madurai district from the dam and in case there is surplus water, the water is released to the extension canals such as PT Rajan and Thanthai Periyar canals for irrigating agricultural lands in Theni district. Though the farmers in the single crop areas had submitted a petition seeking release water, no steps were taken in that direction, the protestors said.
Since the farmers had received information that the officials were planning to release water for the PTR Rajan and Thanthai Periyar canals from November 20, accompanied by the MLA of Melur constituency, P Periyapullan alias Selvam, they submitted a petition to the district administration officials highlighting their issue, on November 17. When CM Palaniswami visited Madurai on Friday night, MLA Periyapullan and farmers’ representatives met him and urged him to release water from the dam.
However water was released from the dam for PT Rajan and Thanthai Periyar canals on Monday, following which thousands of people including farmers and residents of Melur gathered in front of the PWD office at Melur. Expressing support for the farmers, all the shops downed shutters in Melur on Monday.
The protestors went on a procession and staged a road roko at the Madurai-Chennai four- lane highway at both the entry places to Melur at around 11.30 am. Even though police officials and revenue officials attempted to pacify the people and requested them to withdraw their protest, they refused. They insisted that water should be released for the single crop area in Madurai district or it should be stopped for the PT Rajan and Thanthai Periyar extension canals.
While the farmers were staging a road roko, the District Collector K Veera Raghava Rao and the MLA of Melur constituency P Periyapullan alias Selvam had a discussion with the PWD officials regarding the possibility of releasing water from the dam. After nearly five hours of protest, CM Palaniswami ordered the release of the water from Vaigai Dam.
Collector hands over the order for water release to farmers
Madurai: Madurai District Collector K Veera Raghava Rao handed over to the farmers’ representatives the government order for the release of water from the Vaigai Dam, at the Collectorate, here on Monday evening. Addressing media persons at the Collectorate, Rao said that water would be released from the Kallanthiri regulator for Periyar Main Canal and Peranai regulator for the Thirumangalam Main Canal on November 21, Tuesday morning. The farmers welcomed the move to release water from the Vaigai Dam.