PERAMBALUR: The Kottarai dam across the Marudaiyar river in Perambalur district was filled to the brim twice in the last three months due to rains -- in the first week of November 2021, and on January 1 this year. However, farmers could not make use of it for irrigation as the construction of the dam and irrigation canals is incomplete. Farmers and locals have reiterated their demand to complete the work at the earliest.
Work on the 211 million-cubic-feet capacity dam, estimated at a cost of Rs 149.4 crore, was started in 2016. About 464 acres of land in Kottarai village and 180 acres in Adhanur village was acquired for the project. The authorities had promised to complete the work within two years, but it was suspended due to many reasons. As of now, 90 per cent of the work has been completed but laying roads nearby and construction of irrigation canals is moving at a slow pace.
Speaking to TNIE, N Suresh, a resident of Kottarai, said, "It has been five years since the construction of the dam began, but it is yet to be completed. Had the irrigation canals been constructed before the onset of monsoon, 4,500 acres of agricultural land in Kottarai and Adanur villages would have been irrigated." He mentioned that farmers, who are dependent on rain for irrigation, would have benefited a great deal and agriculture in the area would have improved a lot.
M Vignesh, another resident, said, "Construction is going on at snail's pace as there are only a few workers on duty. Farmers here started cultivating with much enthusiasm as the district received heavy rains this year compared to last year. The authorities should set up irrigation canals soon and water sharing should be announced soon."
When TNIE contacted him, Perambalur Public Works Department Assistant Executive Engineer V Velmurugan said, "Almost 80 per cent of the work on the irrigation canals has been completed. The dam would be completed by March 2022."