Tamil Nadu farmers welcome revised norms for drawing silt but with riders

The list of waterbodies identified for drawing silt should also be put up at VAO offices across the district, they demanded.
Farmers use alluvial soil from waterbodies to enrich fields
Farmers use alluvial soil from waterbodies to enrich fields Photo | Express

PERAMBALUR: While welcoming the state government’s recent announcement simplifying norms for drawing silt, farmers in the district urge the former to ensure that the deposits are not drawn from those waterbodies that already has lost much of it.

The list of waterbodies identified for drawing silt should also be put up at VAO offices across the district, they demanded. With a majority of the population in the district into farming, a section of farmers have taken permission from the district administration to transport alluvial soil from waterbodies for application in their fields.

Heeding to demands of free and easier extraction of soil from waterbodies, the state government on June 13 allowed farmers and potters to draw alluvial soil (vandalmann) and clay (kaliman) from waterbodies like irrigation tanks, ponds, canals and lakes maintained by the public works (PWD) and the rural development (RD) departments at no cost.

He said that farmers can get permission at the taluk level for free. T Anbuthamizhan, a farmer from Kunnam, said, "It is not enough if the government allows farmers to excavate soil. No one should be allowed to take alluvial soil from waterbodies which have been heavily excavated over the past few years.

Over-excavated waterbodies do not retain water and the nature of the water may change. Therefore, excavation in such waterbodies should be permitted only after inspection by the PWD and the rural development department." "Soil should not be excavated randomly, including from the banks. The sanctioning authorities should fix the quantity to be drawn by the farmers and monitor it properly.

Similarly, the list of eligible waterbodies should be displayed at the respective VAO offices," he added. Tamil Nadu farmers’ association district president N Chelladurai said, "Multiple permits in the same person's name should be cancelled. The free supply of alluvial soil is only to deepen the waterbodies and store more water.

Although soil extraction is free, bribery should be monitored and prevented. Also, soil looting from waterbodies should be prevented. There is no doubt that many people will benefit from this being done properly."

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