Governments change in TN, but Cauvery surplus water scheme remains a pipe dream

The then AIADMK government conducted a study and now the incumbent DMK government is also conducting studies.
Water from the Lower Bhavani Project needs to be provided from April 18 for the fifth wetting
Water from the Lower Bhavani Project needs to be provided from April 18 for the fifth wetting(Photo | Express)

DHARMAPURI: For close to a decade, farmers in Dharmapuri have been demanding implementation of the Cauvery Surplus Water Scheme to not only improve the cultivation area but also to replenish groundwater.

However, in the past two elections, all parties including the DMK, AIADMK and the PMK have used the issue to score electoral points by including it in their manifesto. Farmers in the rain-fed region are upset that no government has taken steps to fulfil the promise.

The Cauvery Surplus Water project envisages diverting surplus water in the river at Hogenakkal during monsoon to all 64 PWD lakes and 636 DRDA lakes in the district. Around 3 TMC of water would be required for this, sources said.

Farmers claimed that such a project would not cost much but would have lasting benefits to the district. While DMK, AIADMK and PMK had promised to implement the scheme, farmers said it has remained a empty promise.

Speaking to TNIE, president of Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam, SA Chinnasamy said, "The Cauvery Surplus Water Scheme remains a mirage. We see the Cauvery flooding every year and the water draining into the sea. But we cannot use its water.

Dharmapuri district lies in an elevated terrain and the water does not feed a single lake or pond. We hoped that the governments would divert this water using pumps and ensure water security in the district. But till today, it remains an empty promise. We only hope that after this election, at least, we will get this scheme."

J Prathapan of the Tamil Nadu Agriculturist Labourers Association said, "The scheme would take water from the Cauvery only when it is flooding. We do not need this project to be in effect every month or every week. We only need to pump water once a year when the Cauvery water floods in Hogenakkal. We do not need filters or other equipment. In the simplest of terms, we would just drain out a portion of excess water that would otherwise drain into the sea. We would not be breaching any legal issues here. This water would eliminate 90% of the district's problems. If this project comes into effect, our food production would increase, prevent Dharmapuri people from becoming migrant labourers, improve the district's industrial potential because of water sufficiency and most importantly eliminate drought. But despite assurances from the incumbent DMK Chief Minister and the former AIADMK chief Minister, no efforts have been taken. This election too, the scheme remains a promise, hopefully by the next election someone will take steps to help our district. "

M Selvaraj, a farmer in Nallampalli said, "Both AIADMK and DMK have been repeatedly making this promise. It started in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and is continuing till today. Meanwhile, PMK has been protesting and issuing requests for the project.

The then AIADMK government conducted a study and now the incumbent DMK government is also conducting studies. But no assurance on the project has been provided. We are more saddened than disappointed as political parties are using our pain to garner votes. We can only hope that someone will bring the scheme to the district.

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