Farmers representing various associations demanded the government to fill up the dry water bodies in the district with the surplus water of Mettur Dam.

Speaking at the farmers’ grievances redress meeting held at the Collectorate on Wednesday, they expressed concern at the discharge of entire inflow of the surplussing Mettur Dam into River Cauvery for farm operations in the Cauvery basin and said that the government should take steps on a war footing to prevent the surplus water going waste into the sea.

The government should implement the scheme of merging various canals to supply water to all the water bodies in the district.

S. Thiagarajan, a progressive farmer of Arasanatham, demanded the district administration to divert the surplus water to fill the lakes in Thalaivasal.

M.G. Venkatachalam of Pethanayakkanpalayam echoed the same views. He said desilting and merging of the canals would ensure supply of water not only to lakes and tanks in Salem district, but also in the districts of Villupuram and Cuddalore.

S. Soundararajan of Kaadaiyampatti said that despite the Stanley Reservoir receiving heavy inflow of water, even more than one lakh cusecs on four days, the water bodies in the district where the dam was situated continued to remain dry. The ground water level has gone down alarmingly and the sinking of more and more borewells has worsened the situation.

Mr. Soundararajan suggested that the district administration take steps for pumping surplus water from Mettur dam into the canals of the district. The pumping of the surplus water will also pave way for solving the acute drinking water crisis prevailing in rural areas.

N. Perumal, state general secretary of the farmers’ wing of the Tamil Maanila Congress, said that the Rivers Sarabanga, Vasishta and Swetha in the district posed a dry look for many years, while the surplus water of Mettur Dam was going waste into the sea.

He demanded immediate steps for the implementation of the canal merger project immediately.

Rohini R. Bhajibhakare, District Collector, who presided over the meeting said that the district administration would forward the suggestions of the farmers to the State Government.

Many farmers complained about the non-receipt of crop insurance amount. The Collector said that the insurance for the crop loss suffered was already sanctioned and deposited in the accounts of 17,000 farmers. The applications of 9,000 more farmers was processed, of which the Centre had already sanctioned the amount to 5,000 more. They will receive the amount very soon.

Due to the non-cooperation of a private concern, there was delay in the remaining 4,000 farmers getting their due. The district officials pursued the matter by visiting New Delhi. “We are pursuing the matter with the concern on a daily basis”, the Collector said.

K. Sundaram, general secretary, Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam, raised the issue of S. Mariappan, district designated officer of the Food Safety Department, and a few other officials being held hostage by sago unit owners near Attur while conducting surprise check. He demanded the government to take stringent action against the sago manufacturers who indulged in this incident.

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