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22 Mar 2019, Edition - 1347, Friday

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Mettupalayam farmers protest against use of Bhavani waters for Smart City project

Renald A. Frank

Coimbatore: Farmers are up in arms against the Bhavani waters being used under the Smart City scheme. Protests by more than 100 farmers were held near RKSS Kalyana Mandapam at Mettupalayam on Saturday when it was announced that the Bhavani waters would be used. Since prior notice had not been given for the march, five protesters Basha, Babu, Shyam, Suresh and Muruganvel – began a fast and were arrested.

Advocate M Shiva Suresh told The Covai Post, “We get to hear on how prior to launching of the project Mettupalayam got only 170 lakh gallons of water during August September and the government now plans to pump out 290 lakh gallons.” Farmers submitted a petition to the Revenue Divisional Officer who refused to acknowledge receipt of it, he added. The government had allotted Rs 1,600 crore for the project and the Government appeared to have little concern for the Bavani Mettupalayam farmers, Shiva said.

It was two weeks ago that railway officials bought water to clean the coaches since as there was scarcity. A meeting had been convened to discuss the issue and decide the future course of action. People from villages across Mettupalayam, besides the Save Bhavani Trust, political organisations and MTP Rotary Club are expected at the meeting.

Jai Kumar of Tamil Nadu Home Guards said, “Last year levels at Mettupalayam were very low and water was supplied only once in three days. Since we are already supplying water to Tirupur, it will be a huge problem if the third water scheme is launched.”

There were already several water schemes in place and the new one was being planned in Coimbatore. People and farmers of Mettupalayam were bound to suffer. More than 100 farmers from six villages were present during the agitation.

Meanwhile, the Revenue Divisional Officer did not say what action he proposed to take.

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