December 16, 2017
With the Public Works Department dragging its feet on cleaning up the Aliyar river, a group of youth have taken the task upon themselves.
Under the umbrella Anamalai River Retrieval Committee (ARRC), formed three months ago, over 200 volunteers are expected to take part in the Aliyar river cleaning drive that begins at Anamalai Mukkonam on Sunday at 9 am.
“We have been pleading the government to clean up the 37 km stretch of the river starting from the reservoir to the Manacadavu weir for the last 7 years, but in vain,” says the 27-year-old P.Ashok Raja, the co-ordinator of the committee.
Having its source in the Anamalai Hills, the Aliyar river flows in the north-westerly direction for about 37 kms in Tamil Nadu and enters into Palakkad district in Kerala and finally confluences in Baharathapuzha.
Ashok says the river flowing in TN is choked with water hyacinths and plastic waste and also sewage from the households in the Anamalai town panchayat and Kottur and Amabarampalayam panchayats is let into it without being treated. The river feeds drinking water projects serving Anamalai, Odaiyakulam and Vettaikaaran town panchayats among others. Besides, it is also a drinking water source for Kurichi and Kuniyamuthur in Coimbatore corporation and Pollachi and Kinathukadavu.
Pointing out the pathetic condition of the river, the ARRC shot a petition in September last to the chief minister’s cell praying for speedy action to remove the water hyacinths. It received a reply stating that the petition has been forwarded to the department concerned for action. But on November 28, 2017, PWD assistant executive engineer R.Narendran of Plains Canal sub-division sent his response to ARRC saying water hyacinth growth in the river was a result of sewage let into it by the households in the Anamalai town panchayat and funds have been sought from the government for its removal. The town panchayat also has sent a proposal for setting up sewage treatment plant, Mr Narendran said in the response.
“The administration and the PWD have been parroting the same reply for many years now. We cannot wait any longer. So, we decided to launch the drive ourselves,”Ashok said.