Farmers demand water to be released to Uppar reservoir

TIRUPUR: Farmers in and Kundadam in the district have urged the government to release water to Uppar reservoir, which has not received water for more than three years.
Unlike last year, it has rained significantly in catchment areas of Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP). This has prompted farmers to demand water to save at least trees and to feed cattle. But the farmers who are beneficiaries of main Ayacut irrigation of the project have opposed it.

With a capacity of 350mcft, Uppar reservoir has an ayacut covering 6,060 acres of agricultural lands at Kundadam and Dharapuram. If the water would be released by opening a shutter of PAP main canal at Arasur in Coimbatore district, it would travel around 30km and reach the small reservoir. As per a government order issued in 1994, if water level is satisfactorily available in Thirumurthy reservoir, the water could be released to Uppar reservoir.

“The areas covered under Uppar reservoir predominantly contain coconut trees. Crops like cotton, corn and vegetables would be cultivated if water is available for irrigation. For the past three years, the water was not released to Uppar reservoir from PAP canal. But this year, southwest monsoon yielded significant rain. So, we demand the government to open water for at least 10 days,” said R Muruganantham, a farmer of Uppar Pasana Sangam.

A public works department official said, “Uppar reservoir beneficiaries have made the request, and the government will consider it. The government may be ready to provide them water for three days shortly.”

But the farmers who cultivate in the lands covered by PAP zonal irrigation opposed it saying that the available water will not be sufficient for them.

Vice-president of Vivasaigal Sangam S R Madhusudhanan said, “The water level at 1.5-mcft Thirumurthy reservoir has reached 56ft out of 60ft. It would take at least 10 days to reach the full capacity. And then, the water should be released for zonal irrigation covering around 1 lakh acres out of total 4 lakh acres.”

“So, opening water to Uppar reservoir will affect PAP zonal irrigation farmers. We have demanded to dig canal to feed Uppar reservoir from Amaravathi river irrigation’s new canal. When it was estimated earlier, it seemed to be costed only Rs 20 crore to establish the canal, which could also be useful to feed Vattamalaikarai dam,” he added.

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