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Ryots threaten stir to press govt to initiate LBP modernization work from April 30

Ryots threaten stir to press govt to initiate LBP modernization work from April 30

If the government didn't initiate the long pending Lower Bavani Project (LBP) irrigation canal modernization work from April 30, as scheduled, many ryots associations would announce a major stir on that day itself, warned TN farmers association district secretary S Periyasamy at a press meet held here on Friday.

He said that the modernization work was envisaged during the previous DMK rule itself and the scheme was envisaged after the then chairman of the Cauvery technical cell  and renowned hydrologist Mohanakrishnan after hearing the views of the LBP ryots in 2010. The ayacut ryots cited the weak condition of earthern bunds, breaking of the canal in some places every year, damaged bridges, culverts,sluizes etc, steep rise in the seepage of water from the canal from 33 to 60 percent and lack of water flow to the tail end ayacut areas of the canal, illegal tapping of canal water by 12 major firms located on right bank of the canal, erection of pipelines by some rich farmers to pump water for their farms on right bank illegally, usage of seepage water of the canal by non ayacut ryots for over 60000 acres in the right bank as against the norms of LBP. The 200km stretch canal didn't witness any repair work since it was dug in 1948 to irrigate 2.07 lakh acre in Erode, Tirupur and Karur districts. The Mohanakrishnan committee report was accepted by successive  Jayalalithaa government which planned to concertise the canal besides constructing all damaged bridges, culverts etc by getting World Bank aid of over Rs 1000 cr. 

However, as some ryots associations opposed the project on the ground of that the concretisation  would hit ground water level, check seepage, create drinking water shortage and hit non ayacut ryots riparian rights to use seepage water for their lands etc, the previous rule dropped concretisation plan and envisaged only repair works at a cost of Rs 710 cr in LBP main canal by getting loan from Nabard. Under the new plan,  even a plan of laying concrete slabs was dropped and only 27 km stretch of canal  would be modernised and all damaged bridges, culverts, sluizes etc would be replaced. So, the lands depending on seepage water,  and water harnessing projects besides drinking water schemes  would not be hit. The works would help exclude  LBP lands used for commercial, housing purpose etc and include nearly 25000 acres, called as 'Dharapuram Cut' in the ayacut which were excluded from the LBP in those days. Above all, the Cauvery Tribunal reduced  the allotment of water for the ayacut from 36 TMC to 28 TMC and insisted modernization project to conserve water, check wastage, use it economically. So,  modernization of the canal is an inevitable process to protect ryots and the canal. But, some ryots associations hid these facts and spread misinformation among public that the canal would be concertised fully which could hit non ayacut ryots in right bank, who tap water illegally,  seepage of water, ground water level,  drinking water schemes, make the ayacut a desert,  lead to felling down of trees on the bunds etc. 

So,  the government should explain the salient features of the scheme to the public clearly, allay their fears, and take action on those spreading misinformation on the scheme etc. Various ryots association leaders Eswaramurthy, 
KR Thangaraj, 
K.V Ponnaiyan, MV Shanmugaraj, AM Munu samy, Arachalur Selvam, were present.