THOOTHUKUDI: Sri Vaikundaperumalpuram villagers called off their protest after the Vilathikulam tahsildar ordered a private salt production company to remove the road encroachment that was blocking the flow of water to the Sri Vaikundaperumal tank in Vaippar 2 village.
Earlier, the villagers, led by social activist SM Gandhi Mallar, had announced that a road blockade would be staged at Vaippar junction on August 31.
According to villagers, the salt pan company encroached over 8 acres of government poramboke lands situated on the banks of the Vaikundaperumalpuram tank. "Besides, the salt manufacturer elevated the pathway along the government poramboke land to a certain height by dumping sand, so that the salt-laden lorries could move easily. The pathway is also mentioned in the village records. However, this elevated pathway has been obstructing the flow of water to the Sri Vaikundaperumal tank, leaving it dry for the past four years," they said.
When the villagers announced a protest against the encroachment, the tahsildar surveyed the area and ordered the salt producer to restore the pathway by removing the 6521 cubic metres of sand. The revenue officials had also ordered the cessation of salt pan works on the poramboke lands. Following the orders, the Vaikundaperumalpuram villagers called off the protest, said Gandhi Mallar.
Gandhi Mallar further charged that the villagers could not pursue vegetable cultivation for the past few years as the tank had not received water. Besides, the water supply to the chain of tanks like Sippikulam, has also been hampered, he added.