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February 24, 2018
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 Farmers want check dams across Palar They voice their concern over encroachments on waterbodies and canals across Vellore district

At the agriculturists’ grievance redressal meeting, many farmers urged the district administration to take steps to construct check dams across the river Palar, and clear encroachments from several feeding canals of tanks.

With rains bringing water into the bone-dry Palar in Vellore district after nearly 20 years, farmers raised the need to construct check dams across the river to store water, and voiced their concern over the encroachments on the waterbodies and canals across the district.

B. Sathanantham, a farmer in Melarasampattu, said he has submitted 127 petitions from 2014 to 2017 requesting officials to remove encroachments from either side of Uthira Kaveri river in Melarasampattu. “But nothing has been done till date,” he said.

Another farmer, Pon Parthasarathy, said that private parties have encroached upon the Agaram Eri but his petitions for the last two months have not fetched action.

Farmers also pointed out to encroachments along the feeding canal of Udayendram Eri.

“Buildings have been constructed by a few companies. We have given several complaints to the Public Works Department,” another farmer said.

Raja Perumal, a farmer, said, there were encroachments at Kalavai Eri. He also demanded that check dams should be constructed across river Palar for every five kilometres.

There were also demands for construction of check dams at Ponnan canal and Magudam canal. Some of them also urged officials to take up repair works at tanks.

Raghupathy, another farmer, said it was sad that water from the Palar did not flow into many tanks as the canals were not desilted.

Officials of the Public Works Department informed farmers that they have sent proposals to the State government for constructing check dams across the Palar river.

Collector S.A. Raman, who chaired the meeting, directed the officials to look into complaints of encroachments. According to official sources, the PWD has sent proposals to construct three check dams and three sub-surface dykes across the Palar river, and nearly five check dams across Palar’s tributaries.

“With the Chief Minister announcing 1,000 crore for three years to construct dams and check dams, 350 crore has been allotted for this year. We hope that the proposal sent from Vellore will be accepted and funds allotted,” an official said.

Among the other demands, farmers also urged the district administration to take steps to settle pending payment for sugarcane farmers.

Opening of two direct procurement centres for paddy in each firka, elephant trenches to protect crops from elephants, and exemption of agriculture implements from Goods and Services Tax were the other demands put forward during the meeting.