August 30, 2016
Major protests against Kerala’s proposal to build a dam across the Siruvani River, a tributary of River Bhavani, have been lined up by the Save Bhavani Trust in Mettupalayam, even as the crisis deepened at the government level.
The Bhavani River will turn into a desert if the dam project goes ahead, with people of Coimbatore and its surrounding districts like Tirupur and Erode deprived of their key source of drinking water, said top officials of the Trust, which will also seek to enlist other social organizations to support the agitation and later submit a petition to the district collector.
The drinking water and agricultural needs of Tirupur and Erode are entirely dependent on this river, whose tributary is Siruvani, said the officials who are building public solidarity in Mettupalayam to protest against the project.
About five to 10 ten lakh farmers in the Bhavani basin will be affected, said Mettupalayam municipal chairman D Satheeshkumar.
Under two different schemes Tiruppur is currently receiving 25 million litres per day (mld) and 5 mld of water from Bhavani, with Mettupalayam benefiting from a 10 mld water scheme, he said.
Pamphlets and posters will be soon distributed to generate public awareness to what they are going to lose if the Bhavani River is choked off, said Prof M Jaikumar, joint secretary of The Save Bhavani Trust.
“The dam proposal will not just disrupt rather halt water supply, but also extinguish livelihoods of many people.
If a dam is built over Bhavani it will during the summer season completely stifle the inflow, which will be reduced to a trickle during winter, said Jaikumar.
“The awareness campaigns will be soon followed by protests to draw the attention of the state and central governments to the huge damage a dam over Bhavani can inflict on the people,” said M SU Mani, secretary Save Bhavani Trust.
Pamphlets and posters will be soon distributed to galvanise public participation, he said.
As the issue continued to simmer, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has demanded immediate withdrawal of the recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for conducting an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the dam proposed to be built across the Siruvani river at Attappady in Kerala.
The Bhavani River originates at Angadha on the interstate border where Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiri forest region and Kerala’s Nilambur area meet. Siruvani orginates in the Nilgiris district and after flowing through Kerala, it again joins Bhavanisagar in Tamil Nadu.