Alleging improper execution of the Grand Anicut Canal rejuvenation work, the Nasuvini Riverbed Farmers Welfare Association has called upon the State government to initiate necessary steps for course-correction.
In a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, M.K.Stalin, the association president, V. Veerasenan pointed out that the GA Canal was formed during the period 1928 to 1934 with a carrying capacity of 4200 cusecs of water.
The canal passes through Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts for a length of 148.65 kilometres (109 kilometres in Thanjavur district and 39.65 kilometres in Pudukottai district) before draining the water in Mumbalai Lake in Pudukottai district. The canal provides the surface water irrigation facility to around 2.27 lakh acres in the two districts.
It also serves as a feeder to 694 lakes in both the districts ensuring the tank irrigation facility to around 82,000 acres of agriculture fields in the Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts in addition to the 2.27 lakh acres fed by the canal, he said.
However, the canal bund and the regulators and other structures of this irrigation channel had weakened as it had served as the reliable source for irrigation for over eight decades. The farmers were unable to take up `samba’ or `kuruvai’ followed by `thaladi’ with confidence in the recent past.
The previous AIADMK government had launched the ₹ 2798.75 crore GA Canal rejuvenation project during the financial year 2020-21 and tenders for five works under this project at a total cost of ₹ 1036.70 core were finalised in January 2021, he said.
Upon successfully bidding for the works, the contractors commenced the work before the water for irrigation from the Mettur dam was released on the scheduled date of June 12 this year. As the water flowed through the canal subsequently, breaches have occurred at some of the places where the work was going on, he claimed and added that the condition of the cement concreting of the GA canal bed could not be assessed in view of the water flow.
As the canal bund had breached at several places where the rejuvenation work was being implemented, Mr. Veerasenan urged the State government to form an expert committee to assess the quality of work so far executed by the contractors and ensure rejuvenation of the lifeline of agriculture activity in this region in a proper manner.
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