Farming community and the local people have urged the government to take steps for protecting River Vasistha by checking unauthorised sand mining and water tapping.

The River Vasishta Retrieval Movement held a meeting with the stakeholders of the river at Thaandanur village near Vazhappadi recently and discussed the issue in depth.

Named after the Hindu sage Vasishta, the river originates in Arunootrumalai near Vazhappadi and passes through Attur, Thalaivasal, Sitheri. The farmers of the River Vasishta irrigation system have been complaining that indiscriminate sand mining, illegal tapping of water using motors have hit their interest to a big extent.

Moreover, indiscriminate disposal of garbage and industrial wastes into River Vasishta near Attur has been polluting the water for long.

Many farmers and environmental activists complained that the river that once provided water for drinking as well as irrigation purposes was now a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The farmers who spoke at the meeting demanded the government to raise plants along the banks of the river to arrest soil erosion. Besides, they also demanded steps for the implementation of the pending Kalvarayan hills Kaikkan Valavu canal project without any further delay.

The meeting decided to organise a cycle rally by the members of the River Vasishta Retrieval Movement from Thumbal to Attur to create awareness among the local community.

Baskaran, a farmer and member of the Uzhavar Mandra Koottamaippu, while speaking at the farmers grievances redress day meeting held recently, complained that indiscriminate sand mining by vested interests round the clock had changed the course of the river. He alleged that the pleas to check the sand mining have not evoked any response from the official machinery.

Mr. Baskaran said that encroachments along the stretch of the river from Thumbal to Ethapur has affected the flow of water, so also the illegal tapping of water. Due to this the ground water level has gone down alarmingly in the rural pockets, he said.

Mr. Baskaran said that a movement ‘Vasishtavai kapppom; Vasishtavai meetpom’ has already been launched to protect the river.

S. Jayaraman, president, Abhinavam Uzhavar Mandra Koottamaippu, Ethapur, concurred with the views of Mr. Baskaran and said that illegal tapping of water river has led to severe drought conditions in the interior villages.

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