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PWD completes groyne across damaged Coleroon regulator

Work in progress:The restoration work is likely to continue for another fortnight.M. Srinath

The Public Works Department (PWD) on Friday completed the construction of a groyne across the breached portion of a damaged regulator on the Coleroon at the Upper Anicut (Mukkombu), bringing under control the unchecked flow of water into the river.

Seeking to restore normality in water supply for irrigation in the delta region, the PWD also began stepping up the discharge from the Mettur reservoir on Friday evening.

The samba season has had a jittery start this year in the delta region, as the irrigation system went haywire after 9 out of the 45 shutters of the regulator across the Coleroon collapsed on August 22. The 182-year-old regulator gave way after a huge quantum of surplus discharge from Mettur flowed through it for several days. The PWD regulates the flow of water to the Grand Anicut in the Cauvery from the Upper Anicut, situated about 15 km from here. With the collapse of the shutters, a huge quantum of water started flowing unchecked into the Coleroon.

The construction of the groyne, however, marks the completion of only the first phase of the temporary restoration work, which is likely to continue for another fortnight. The PWD had originally planned to build a ring bund using sand bags and casuarina poles for a length of about 220 metres to arrest the flow of water. But it had to rework its strategy mid-way, and began building a groyne for a length of about 120 metres using huge stone boulders as the depth and the strong water currents rendered stacking up sand bags near the damaged vents impossible. The temporary restoration work would be complete only after the ring bund is put in place.

“The construction of the groyne is over. There is some seepage. It will be checked in a day or two. We will ensure that water reaches the tail-end areas,” said Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabaskar after inspecting the site. Collector K. Rajamani said work on erecting the ring bund and strengthening the groyne would be completed soon.

Mixed reaction

The announcement evoked a mixed reaction from farmers.

The general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, Mannargudi S. Ranganathan, hoped normal supply would be restored in the Cauvery within the next couple of days. But P.R. Pandian, president, Tamil Nadu All Farmers Coordination Committee, expressed dissatisfaction with the temporary arrangement, and cautioned that the groyne and the ring bund could be washed away if there were to be heavy flow from the Mettur reservoir or due to local rain during the northeast monsoon. “We want a strong temporary bridge, with shutters, to be built with the help of the Army and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, as it may take three years to build the new regulator,” Mr. Pandian said. His organisation has called for a stir near Mukkombu on Saturday to press for the demand.

On Friday, a group of farmers, led by P. Viswanathan, president, Tamizhaga Eri Mattrum Attru Pasana Vivasayigal Sangam, staged a protest demanding the immediate release of water in the Ayyan, Peruvalai and Pullampadi canals in Tiruchi district.


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