November 21, 2016
A subway canal near Udulmalpet forest range has been completely clogged with sand causing farmers to worry about potential damage to the contour canal during the upcoming monsoon.
The contour canal was constructed during the 1960s for the Parambikulam Aliyar project. The 49-km-long canal begins near Sarkarpathy Power House at Pollachi range and ends at Thirumoorthy reservoir at Udumalpet range. This canal is the main water source for Thirumoorthy reservoir with more than 96,474 acres benefitting from the reservoir.
Rs 184 cores were sanctioned by the State government with the help of the World Bank to repair the contour canal in 2010. The last phase of works ended in September 2015. To secure the canal from rain water that comes from the Western Ghats, the State government constructed subway canals every 2-4 kms near the contour canal.
Now one of the subways near the Udulmalpet forest range has been fully closed with sand. When the monsoons start, rain water from the subway canal could overflow and damage the contour canal.
Farmer A Krishnamoorthy said, “The subway canal protects the contour canal from rain water. The contour canal is the main source of water for our agricultural needs; if it gets damaged, farmers will be in dire straits. The sand from the subway canal has to be cleared by PWD officers immediately, otherwise we will be in big trouble.”
Thirumoorthy Dam Official Dhanraj, said “We will clear the sand from the subway within this week. Machine work is not possible inside the subway canal, manual power has been allotted, the work will be done as soon as possible.”
Farmers are depending on the monsoon season to grow sugarcane, maize and rice. According to activists, the PWD must take immediate action to save farmers’ lives.