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PAP-nasham: Thieves on the loose

The PAP canal carries water from Thirumurthi Dam in Udumalaipet to Vellakoil across 600 villages. Farming along the PAP canal takes a hit in summer season.

Published: 15th February 2020 09:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2020 09:34 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

TIRUPUR: February is not a rosy month for the district administration officials; for it is then that the water thieves set out to showcase their finesse. If sources are to be believed, water tapping is prevalent in over 200 locations along the 124 km-long Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) canal in Udumalaipet.

The PAP canal carries water from Thirumurthi Dam in Udumalaipet to Vellakoil across 600 villages. Farming along the PAP canal takes a hit between February and October -- summer season -- when water tapping is also at its peak.

Drilling on the sides of a borehole and directly into the canal's pipelines are the two methods used to steal water, says Vice-President of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association (Udumalaipet) M Paramasivam.

"In the side bore drilling method, a pipeline is laid to connect with the underground section of the PAP canal with a well dug near it. This kind of stealing is difficult to find. As per a government order, no well should be constructed within 50 metres of the PAP canal, but, such activities continue along the canal. In the second method, water is tapped directly from the canal. This way, farmers living several kilometres away from Thirumurthi Dam fail to get their share of water," he explains.  

'PWD officials work for hand in glove'

When the issue was brought to the Public Works Department (PWD) officials' notice last summer, they formed 12 patrol teams to curb water pilferage in the region. However, the issues continued to happen after a few months, says farmer Vignesh Kumar.

"There are several claims that the PWD officials are working hand in glove with the thieves. They are also reportedly backed by powerful people, who identify the lands having good water flow and buy it (usually 4-5 cents). The stolen water is usually sold to coir mills and hotels for a higher price," he adds.

'Issue is serious now'

To crack down on illegal water tapping, three special teams have been formed with officials from various departments, including revenue, PWD, electricity board and police, says a district administration official. "We have taken up the issue seriously. The specials teams will have officials from different departments to effectively curb this issue. They will strictly monitor regions along the canal and take stringent action against the miscreants," the official assures.



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