Govt. orders land acquisition for last leg of river linking project

The Hindu, Nov 29, 2019

The Tamil Nadu Government, which is keen on commissioning the Tamirabharani – Karumaeniyar – Nambiyar linking project by December 2020, has released the government order for acquiring lands for the fourth and final phase of the ₹ 872-crore project.

In the order released recently, the State government has issued the order for acquiring 179.02 hectare in Arasoor – I, Arasoor – II and Naduvaikurichi villages, all under Sattankulam taluk in Thoothukudi district through private negotiations for digging the river-linking channel to take the surplus water of the Tamirabharani to Nanguneri, Thisaiyanvilai and Sattankulam regions by linking Karumaeniyar and Nambiyar.

The water will be diverted from Tamirabharani at the third check-dam at the confluence of water released from Manimuthar and Papanasam dams through the existing Kannadian Channel for about 37 km. A new barrage has been constructed 6.5 km downstream to divert the water further which has been linked with Kannadian Channel and the new canal will run for about 73 km till it reaches M.L. Theri near Sattankulam.

As the 6.5-km long Kannadian Channel’s carrying capacity was increased from 450 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to 3,680 cusecs, formation of a new channel to be dug up to M.L. Theri, a sand dune, near Sattankulam in Thoothukudi district, from Kannadian Channel at Vellankuzhi was started. The proposed canal can carry 3,200 cusecs of water.

There are many canals that will connect the 73-km-long canal with a host of tanks in the basins of Karumeniyar and Nambiyar and the Manimuthar’s tributaries such as Pachchaiyaar, Koraiyaar and Yelumichchaiyaar. The main canal would link with the river Pachayar.

When the project is completed, it will benefit 50 villages in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, of which five are in Palyamkottai taluk; 17 in Nanguneri taluk; 10 in Radhapuram taluk; 16 in Sattankulam taluk and two in Tiruchendur taluk. With this surplus water, irrigation facilities can be provided to about 23,040 hectares in these districts.

Of about 1,076 hectares of land required for the project, 994 hectares fell under the category of dry land and 14.5 hectares under wet land. About 68 hectares were poromboke lands.

Since the State government released funds as foundation stone was laid in February 2009 by then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, the first two phases of the project could be completed. After the change of guard in 2011, the project was shelved. The then MLA of Radhapuram M. Appavu approached the High Court and got a few directions to the State government in support of the project. The deplorable delay has increased the project cost from ₹ 369 crore to ₹ 872 crore.

Now, the government has resumed the river-linking exercise by expediting the third and the fourth phase of the project. While the land required for the third phase has almost been completed, the land needed for the last leg of the scheme is to be acquired through this government order.